Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning and Isaac Hempstead-Wright will all lend their voices to “The Boxtrolls,” a new 3D stop-motion animated feature that Focus Features and LAIKA have parntered on, the two companies announced on Thursday.
LAIKA has begun production on the film, the third since the stop-motion company began making features. It has previously made “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” which is nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar this year.
Focus distributed both of those movies, and it has already slotted “The Boxtrolls” to be released Oct. 17, 2014. Focus will release it domestically while Universal Pictures International handles international distribution except for Canada.
Based on Alan Snow’s fantasy adventure novel, “The Boxtrolls” is a comedic fable set in Cheesebridge, a Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth and odiferous cheese. According to legend the titular characters are sewer-dwelling monsters who surface at night to steal both children and cheese. In reality, they are endearing goofballs who wear cardboard boxes like turtles wear shells.
The cavern-dwellers raise Eggs, an oprhaned human voiced by Hempstead-Wright. Archibald, a pest exterminator voiced by Kinglsey, wants to eradicate the boxtrolls to gain entre into high society. A rich girl, voiced by Fanning, tries to bring the gap between the two worlds.
Anthony Stacchi, who co-directed “Open Season,” will direct the film with Graham Annable, a story artists on “Coraline” and “ParaNorman.” Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan are all in the voice cast as well.
“’The Boxtrolls’ is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart,” LAIKA CEO Travis Knight said in a statement. “It’s Dickens by way of Monty Python.”
Both “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” were modest commercial hits that critics lavished with praise, earnings several awards each.
“We are delighted to be embarking on a third wondrous adventure with the LAIKA artisans who transform everyday materials into living creatures infused with dimension, humor, and soul,” Focus Features CEO James Schamus said in a statement. “With a wonderfully appealing menagerie of fun characters, and a generous, open heart at its center, ‘The Boxtrolls’ will be a must-see for family audiences.”