Laika Sets First Live-Action Film With Thriller 'Seventeen'

Film is based on an upcoming novel by “Sylvia” screenwriter John Brownlow

Travis Knight/Courtesy of Laika

Laika, the Oscar-nominated stop motion animation studio known for “Coraline,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and most recently “Missing Link,” is expanding into live-action features and has set its first film with the thriller “Seventeen.”

Laika isn’t moving away from animated films and is currently in production on its sixth animated feature. But the studio acquired “Seventeen” in a bidding war with the intention of developing it as a live-action feature, which is the upcoming first novel from author John Brownlow, a screenwriter behind the Anya Taylor-Joy miniseries “The Miniaturist” and the Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig film “Sylvia.”

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but Laika president and CEO Travis Knight describes “Seventeen” as a “stiff cocktail of wicked wit, exhilarating action and raw emotion.” Brownlow will also write the screenplay for the film. No director is attached just yet.

“Across mediums and genres, our studio has fused art, craft, and technology in service of bold, distinctive, and enduring stories. With ‘Seventeen,’ Laika is taking that philosophy in an exciting new direction,” Knight said in a statement. “John has such a wonderfully unique voice. He’s crafted a brilliant universe with its own powerful identity. ‘Seventeen’ is a thriller with soul, a sinuous adrenaline-fueled actioner with a sincere heart beating underneath its rippling pectorals.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to be developing ‘Seventeen’ for the screen with Laika,” Brownlow said. “As a long-time fan of Laika’s movies for their vision, heart, craft, intelligence and ambition, I couldn’t have hoped for the novel or the universe it inhabits to have found a better or more exciting home. I’m beyond honored to be part of their plans for the future.”

UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton has preemptively acquired worldwide publishing rights to “Seventeen.” Hanover Square will publish the book in the U.S. in 2022.

Laika was founded in Oregon by Knight in 2005 and has made five features so far, beginning with “Coraline” back in 2009. Their most recent film “Missing Link” from 2019 won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, and all five of the studio’s movies, including “ParaNorman,” “The Boxtrolls” and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” have received Oscar nominations.

LAIKA was represented in the deal by CAA.  John Brownlow is represented by George Davis at Nelson Davis LLP, Jessica Sykes at Independent Talent Group and CAA.

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