SOURCE: LAIKA Entertainment

May 23, 2006 11:29 ET

Portland's LAIKA Entertainment Signs Teri Hatcher to Voice Dual Role Opposite Dakota Fanning in "Coraline"

Stop-Motion Animated Movie Directed/Adapted by Henry Selick; Focus Features Distributing Worldwide

PORTLAND, OR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 23, 2006 -- LAIKA Entertainment has cast Teri Hatcher, the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning star of the worldwide television phenomenon "Desperate Housewives," to voice a dual role opposite Dakota Fanning in its first animated feature film, "Coraline." Focus Features has worldwide distribution rights to "Coraline." LAIKA, Inc. president/CEO Dale Wahl and Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

The stop-motion animated feature with CG effects has been adapted by LAIKA supervising director Henry Selick from Neil Gaiman's international best-selling book "Coraline." Mr. Selick is directing "Coraline," and LAIKA Entertainment's director of story Mike Cachuela is co-director of the feature.

"Coraline" is a LAIKA Entertainment production in association with Pandemonium Films; Pandemonium president/CEO Bill Mechanic and LAIKA Entertainment's Mary Sandell are producing the feature, which is in production at LAIKA's Portland animation studio. The popular music group They Might Be Giants will provide songs for the film.

In "Coraline," a young girl (Ms. Fanning) walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life -- only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home.

Ms. Hatcher will voice the role of Coraline's Mother, as well as the role of Other Mother. The two-hour second-season finale of "Desperate Housewives" aired nationwide Sunday night (May 21st). Ms. Hatcher's book "Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life," published by Hyperion, debuted this month at #4 on The New York Times best-seller list and is now at #10 on USA Today's list of best-sellers.

Mr. Wahl said, "We're delighted that one of television's most popular stars is joining this unique and exciting project. Teri's presence will provide the perfect maternal counterpart to Dakota's Coraline."

Mr. Selick, who joined LAIKA as supervising director in 2004, directed the stop-motion/live-action "James and the Giant Peach" and the stop-motion animation classic "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," which will be re-released this fall in a digitally re-mastered 3-D version. He also directed the animation sequences in Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

Mr. Cachuela is a renowned storyboard artist, designer and animator. With stints at Pixar and Skellington Studios, he has been the storyboard artist, animator, or conceptual artist on many of the seminal animated films of the past decade, including "The Incredibles," "Toy Story," and "Antz."

Mr. Gaiman has achieved a cult following in the worlds of comics and fantasy and children's literature, through his acclaimed and popular novels. "Coraline," inspired by his own daughter's sense of adventure, was published by HarperCollins in 2002. The novel has been translated into 30 languages and won a host of honors, including the prestigious Hugo Award.

LAIKA, Inc. (www.laika.com) is owned by chairman Phil Knight, who is also co-founder and chairman of Nike. In addition to "Coraline," LAIKA Entertainment is in pre-production on "Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure," a CG-animated family film which tells a story of survival, brotherly love and grand adventure set in the animal kingdom. That film is written and directed by Jorgen Klubien, a veteran storyboard artist and designer whose credits include "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," "The Lion King," "Toy Story 2," "A Bug's Life," and "Monsters, Inc." The company recently purchased the rights to one of the U.K.'s current best-selling children's novels, writer/illustrator Alan Snow's "Here Be Monsters."

Throughout its history, the company has won two Academy Awards (out of five nominations); eleven Emmy Awards; eleven CLIO Awards; three London International Advertising & Design Awards; five Mobius Advertising Awards; two Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival awards; and honors from the New York International Film & TV Festival, Annecy Awards, Annie Awards, and the World Animation Celebration Festival.

Bill Mechanic and Pandemonium's initial production, "Dark Water," was directed by Walter Salles (Focus' "The Motorcycle Diaries") and released last year. Mr. Mechanic executive-produced Terrence Malick's "The New World," starring Colin Farrell and Q'Orianka Kilcher, which was also released last year.

Pandemonium's current films in development include "The Wrong 9-Year-Old," with Paul Feig directing; "Torso," with director David Fincher attached; and a project with director John Woo.

Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) is a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world's most innovative filmmakers.

In addition to "Coraline," upcoming Focus Features releases include Woody Allen's "Scoop," starring Allen, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and Ian McShane; Allen Coulter's "Hollywoodland," starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, and Ben Affleck; the untitled film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Tim Robbins and Derek Luke; Shane Acker's animated fantasy epic "9," produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley & Dana Ginsburg; Kasi Lemmons' "Talk to Me," starring Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor; and David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises," starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts.

Focus Features is part of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric and 20%-owned by Vivendi.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Adriene Bowles
    For FOCUS FEATURES
    213-280-6121

    Maggie Begley
    For LAIKA ENTERTAINMENT
    310-301-1785

    Bethan Dixon
    For FOCUS FEATURES INTERNATIONAL
    33-630-67-1279