The Oscars: Selick Talks More Coraline
BD: And The Princess and the Frog?
HS: I still remain friends with John Musker and know Ron Clements; and I'm a big fan of the movie. I'm especially a big fan of David Keith's character, the Voodoo master and those almost Ward Kimball-like henchman goons for Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. I think they were partly inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. I felt some of that same energy in the evil spirits and it was great. I felt they also got in some pretty big scares that hadn't existed in Aladdin or Little Mermaid. I think it's great that Disney respects their heritage and has given this another go.
BD: So why did you leave Laika?
HS: We got Coraline up on its feet and going and we're all very happy with the results. At the end of the day, it just made sense [to move on]. I have things that I want to do that aren't necessarily the other films they're going to be making. I want to keep pushing; I want to go bolder than Coraline. And the other half of the equation is simply, my wife got sick of the rain. It's beautiful and green in Portland, but we kept our place in the Bay Area and it's my home base and where I've done most of my work. I'm going to be working with some good friends and I've got several really good projects. But there's no bad blood with Laika. Travis and I are very good friends and I'm sure we'll be working with a lot of the same people, and it's possible I could be working with them sometime in the future.
BD: What are the projects?
HS: I've narrowed them to three: two are adaptations of books (one is another by Neil Gaiman) and the other is an original story -- one I wrote many years ago, but I just sort of put it aside. But I brought it out a couple of months ago and shared it with a few people.
BD: This is the one about the house with a curse?
HS: Yeah, I would call it kind of a haunted house story -- something you could easily say, "From the director of Coraline." But it's a different story. I don't want to go further. There will be more to come in an official announcement after the Academy Awards. So I'm hoping to get the go-ahead on at least two projects so we can plan a little better. My attitude is a good project will attract good people: that's one of the reasons I can't wait to announce so I can start waving the flag because there's a lot of great stop-motion films happening in the world now.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.