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LAIKA Reveal Gritty Neo-Noir Folktale 'The Night Gardener'

It was all quiet on the LAIKA front for some time. Perhaps not so surprising as stop-motion is one area in animation that was actually impacted negatively by the lockdown. But last year they finally announced their next feature, Wildwood- their first since 2019's Missing LinkNow in an unprecedented move,  they have announced their next film after that.

With Wildwood still in production, it's been revealed that their seventh film will be The Night Gardener, based on an original concept by Bill Dubuque, co-creator of hit Netflix drama Ozark. Travis Knight will direct the film, based on Dubuque's script.

The film is described as a "gritty neo-noir folktale" set in rural Missouri, following a young man trying to keep his family together in the wake of a tragedy. The film will reportedly "paint an unflinching portrait of sacrifice, self-reliance and revenge." Not your average Studio animation then.

Does that mean that this is LAIKA's first adult animation? It's not been specifically mentioned as yet that it's the case, but when was the last time you heard a family film described as "unflinching"?

According to Knight:

The Night Gardener is a beautiful and timeless story that quickens the pulse as often as it breaks the heart. Bill is a masterful storyteller. He’s crafted a lyrical world layered with complex characters, provocative ideas, and keenly felt emotion. It’s gonna be one helluva movie.

This is extremely encouraging news for anyone concerned for LAIKA's future. This is the first time we can recall that they have announced a new film with another already in production. But we're going to be waiting a while, as Wildwood doesn't even have a release date yet. LAIKA is also working on their first live-action film, an adaptation of John Brownlow’s novel Seventeen. Mr Knight is going to be very busy.

While it's not unusual for major studios to have projects overlapping, this seems to be the first time LAIKA has been in the position to do so. It makes us wonder if there has been a new deal signed with a distributor- perhaps with one of the streamers. LAIKA films don't make as nearly as much as money as Disney or DreamWorks but they have a certain prestige that might be attractive to the likes of Apple or Amazon. They also have a track record for receiving nominations for awards- if not always winning them.

Whatever the reason, it's good new for fans of quality animation. More information  on this when we get it!