The Night Gardener: Laika Sets Animated Ozark Creator Feature


The animation house has planned “The Night Gardener”, a popular tale conceived by Bill Dubuque and directed by Travis Knight.

Laika, the animation house known for its Oscar-nominated films, from “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” to “The Boxtrolls” and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” has announced its seventh feature. Titled “The Night Gardener,” the project is based on an original script by “Ozark” co-creator Bill Dubuque and will be directed by Laika CEO and President Travis Knight. Knight previously directed “Kubo and the Two Strings” as well as Paramount’s “Bumblebee.”

Laika presents the film as a “gritty neo-noir folk tale centered on a young man from rural Missouri who struggles to keep his family together in the wake of tragedy. The film will paint an unflinching portrait of sacrifice, autonomy and revenge.

“‘The Night Gardener’ is a beautiful, timeless story that races the pulse as often as it breaks the heart,” Knight said. “Bill is a masterful storyteller. He created a lyrical world of complex characters, provocative ideas and deeply felt emotions. It’s going to be one hell of a movie.

“I’m thrilled that Travis Knight saw in ‘The Night Gardener’ a story worthy of the time-consuming process and collective talent of LAIKA’s in-house craftsmen,” Dubuque said. “Laika’s creativity and attention to detail is, in my opinion, as close to the magic of storytelling as it gets.”

The studio is currently in production on “Wildwood,” the first film set in Laika’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. Knight is directing the animated film, based on the best-selling fantasy novel written by Colin Meloy, lead singer and songwriter of rock band The Decemberists. The secret forest project has been in development in Laika for a decade. The film is still looking for a distributor.

Before co-creating “Ozark” with Mark Williams, Dubuque co-wrote Warner Bros.’ “The Judge”, with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, as well as “The Accountant”. “Ozark” launches its final episodes on April 29 on Netflix.

2016’s Knight’s “Kubo” won the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature and received Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects. Laika’s “Missing Link” won a Science and Technology Oscar in 2016 for its innovations in 3D printing.

Travis Knight and his father Phil Knight launched Laika in 2005.

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