It’s been three years since Charlie Kaufman’s last film, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which also marked the Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind writer’s first movie for Netflix. His next project is also headed to streaming, and it marks his first venture into digital animation. (He previously co-directed and wrote the stop-motion animated romance Anomalisa.)

The film, just officially unveiled by Netflix, and is titled Orion and the DarkKaufman wrote the screenplay; Sean Charmatz, an animator whose credits include work on SpongeBob SquarePantsTrollsThe LEGO Movie 2, and The Angry Birds Movie 2, serves as director. There’s no trailer for the film yet — it’s not due out until next year — but there are these first look images above and below. The film features an anxious young boy (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) who confronts his worst fear in the form of a sentient version of “the dark,” voiced by Paul Walter Hauser.

Orion and the Dark
DreamWorks Animation

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Here is the film’s official synopsis:

Orion seems a lot like your average elementary school kid – shy, unassuming, harboring a secret crush. But underneath his seemingly normal exterior, Orion is a ball of adolescent anxiety, completely consumed by irrational fears of bees, dogs, the ocean, cell phone waves, murderous gutter clowns, and even falling off of a cliff. But of all his fears, the thing he’s the most afraid of is what he confronts on a nightly basis: the dark. So when the literal embodiment of his worst fear pays a visit, Dark whisks Orion away on a roller coaster ride around the world to prove there is nothing to be afraid of in the night. As the unlikely pair grows closer, Orion must decide if he can learn to accept the unknown – to stop letting fear control his life and finally embrace the joy of living.

It sounds like a pretty typical animated movie for kids — but c’mon, this springs from the mind of Charlie Kaufman. You know there will be more to it than that. Orion and the Dark will premiere on Netflix in 2024.

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