Last year we got the disappointing news that Henry Selick‘s next stop-motion animated film had been canceled by Disney. But there’s good news: the film has come back to life, via a new producer and financier. The picture is now called The Shadow King, and it follows a boy who learns to create shadows that become a crucial weapon in a war against a monster that threatens the boy’s family, and all of New York.

Better yet, Selick doesn’t have to start from scratch. The work and early production done under Disney are still being used, which means we might see The Shadow King sooner rather than later.

More info follows. 

Here’s the synopsis, which will start to make clear why the film was once called Shademaker.

 THE SHADOW KING is a deliciously magical tale about nine-year-old New York orphan Hap who hides his fantastically weird hands with long fingers from a cruel world. But when a living shadow girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous monster bent on killing Hap’s brother Richard and ultimately destroying New York.

Here’s the press release from K5 International:

Henry Selick, the genius behind THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and the Oscar® and BAFTA nominated CORALINE, is moving forward with Academy Award nominated producer Josh Penn (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD) and K5 International on his latest feature THE SHADOW KING.

THE SHADOW KING is a deliciously magical tale about nine-year-old New York orphan Hap who hides his fantastically weird hands with long fingers from a cruel world. But when a living shadow girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous monster bent on killing Hap’s brother Richard and ultimately destroying New York.

THE SHADOW KING is written and directed by Selick. His team includes an impressive array of renowned artists such as Director of Photographer Peter Sorg, (Frankenweenie, Coraline), Eric Leighton, Animation Director on Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’hoole, Production Designer Lou Romano (The Incredibles), Editor Wyatt Jones (Immortals, Rango, TRON: Legacy, Zodiac), and composer Bruno Coulais (Coraline).

THE SHADOW KING, until recently in hiatus after Disney exited the project, is already a good way into production.

K5 International is bringing Henry Selick to the European Film Market at Berlin to conduct special presentations to selected buyers with exclusive clips from the film screened behind closed doors as part of the presentation.

“K5 is the perfect presenter for THE SHADOW KING – they appreciate the film’s exciting blend of the fantastic and personal with its mix of humor, scares, and moments of sweetness. We can’t wait to get back into production,” stated Henry Selick.

“We immediately realized that THE SHADOW KING is a fantastic and exciting prospect that needed to find the support. To offer our help to Henry’s brilliance as a storyteller is an absolute pleasure for us. And it also demonstrates K5’s commitment to bringing bigger and bolder projects to the market,” say K5’s Co-Founders Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur.

“Henry Selick is the best in the business. His films are all instant classics and they delight family audiences all over the world over and over again,” adds Partner Sales Carl Clifton.

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