Search form

LAIKA/house Animates Michael Douglas in King of California

Commercial animation studio LAIKA/house created the stop-motion animation dream sequence featuring Oscar winning actor/producer Michael Douglas for writer/director Mike Cahill's feature film, KING OF CALIFORNIA, opening nationwide Sept. 28th.

Douglas stars as Charlie, a former mental institution patient whose return home throws his daughter's (Evan Rachel Wood) life into chaos.

To illustrate Charlie's delusional state of mind Cahill asked LAIKA/house to create a dream sequence utilizing the woodblock print technique.

LAIKA/house Creative Director Kirk Kelley, who directed the sequence, said, "We used as our inspiration the brilliant and quirky work of Terry Gilliam. We also tried to extend the film's dark humor into the animation, while maintaining the feel of the printed page coming to life."

The result is a stop-motion piece that travels through a medieval Spanish village teaming with pests, torturers and heretics. The entire scene is made up of many layers of action, but centers around a paper cut-out version of Douglas' character.

"The challenge was to try to capture Charlie's personality in a paper puppet. We watched lots of footage of Mr. Douglas' performance and hopefully his essence comes across in the animation," added Wendy Fuller, LAIKA/house animator.

Character Designer and storyboard artist Dave Fulp faced a different set of challenges: "Complicating the assignment in this case was the fact that we had to walk director Mike Cahill through the development and animation process entirely by phone. So we were relieved and thrilled when he was pleased with the results."

Highly regarded for its skills in storytelling and character animation in particular, LAIKA/house has produced commercial projects with most of the advertising industry's major agencies for a roster of the world's best known brands such as Coca-Cola, M&M's and Ben & Jerry's.

King of California is a Millennium Films presentation in association with Emmett/Furla Films of an Alexander Payne/Michael London production. It is being distributed by First Look Studios.

LAIKA Inc. is an entertainment and media company specializing in animated feature films, television commercials, music videos, broadcast graphics and short films. It is fueled by the vision of Owner and Chairman, NIKE Co-Founder and Chairman Philip H. Knight. The company was re-branded as LAIKA in the summer of 2005, when it absorbed Vinton Studios, an animation leader for more than 30 years.

LAIKA Ent.'s first animated feature film, CORALINE, based on the international bestselling children's novel by Neil Gaiman, is being adapted for the screen and directed by LAIKA Ent.'s supervising director Henry Selick (THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH) with Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher leading the voice cast. It will be released by Focus Features. Also on its feature film development slate are JACK & BEN, an original story of brotherly love set in the animal kingdom in CG, and HERE BE MONSTERS, based on the bestselling children's novel by writer/illustrator Alan Snow.