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09:00am ET, 15-December-04

 Selick Crazy For Fox

Director/animator Henry Selick told SCI FI Wire that he's excited about collaborating with director Wes Anderson and screenwriter Noah Baumbach on an upcoming big-screen treatment of Roald Dahl's The Fantastic Mr. Fox. "The script is under wraps," Selick said in an interview while promoting The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Anderson-directed film for which he provided otherworldly sea creatures. "I read the first pages. What excites me most is that Wes and Noah are writing it, that we're getting some seriously gifted storytellers from a different point of view to work out the story."

Selick added, "The book itself is pretty slender, and that's going to represent pretty much the second act, a bunch of wily foxes and animals that steal one too many chickens, and these three different farmers are out to eradicate them. It's very clever. It's Roald Dahl, and he has a wonderful way of mixing terrifying elements with humor. The book by itself, for me, wouldn't have been a reason to do the film. But it is for Wes, and he's sketched it out a little bit, what he'll do in the first and third act."

A director himself (A Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach), Selick said that he also appreciated Anderson's commitment to handmade films. "For example, for Life Aquatic he built this cross section of a giant ship, and it's one of the coolest shots I've ever seen in filmmaking," Selick said. "It could've been a miniature. People could've been composited in, and it would've looked pretty seamless, but it would've had a different feeling. So Wes Anderson is the primary reason I'm excited about the Fox film, and also how we work together. It's a really nice collaborative situation." Selick is also attached to direct a feature based on Neil Gaiman's Coraline, but The Fantastic Mr. Fox looks likely to gel first. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is in limited release.

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 Selick Crazy For Fox

The film adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials wants to take religion, the Big Bad of the books, out of the equation. Do you agree?
Yes! No sense angering people.
No! Stay true to the anti-church message.
Can't we all just get along?

Jim Carrey, in England to promote Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, had to evacuate his hotel on Dec. 16 because of a fire, wire services reported. "I think it's a good sign," the unharmed Carrey reportedly said. "The movie's all about fire and disaster, ... and suddenly, my house [away from home] is burning down."

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