By The Portland Egotist / /
LAIKA, the animation studio behind the Academy Award® nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline, announces its fifth and most ambitious film to date: MISSING LINK. The title, U.S. release date (Spring, 2019) and complete cast details were revealed today by LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight as he prepares to meet with foreign buyers at the Cannes Film Festival. Missing Link will be distributed in the U.S. by Annapurna Pictures. AGC International, the sales and distribution division of AGC Studios, is handling international sales.
“Missing Link is an artistic and technical wonder,” said Mr. Knight. “Led by our visionary director Chris Butler, LAIKA has once again blended fine art, craftsmanship, and cutting-edge technology to achieve something we’ve never tried before: a raucous comedy entwined with a swashbuckling epic, underscoring the universal need to find belonging. Commingling keenly felt emotion, madcap humor, and retina-bursting visuals, Missing Link is a kaleidoscopic cinematic experience unlike any other. It’s the most striking thing we’ve ever done.”
The charismatic Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) considers himself to be the world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters. The trouble is none of his small-minded high-society peers seems to recognize this. Sir Lionel’s last chance for acceptance by the adventuring elite rests on traveling to America’s Pacific Northwest to prove the existence of a legendary creature. A living remnant of Man’s primitive ancestry. The Missing Link.
Zach Galifianakis is Mr. Link: the slightly silly, surprisingly smart and soulful beast upon whom Sir Lionel’s dreams depend. As species go, he’s as endangered as they get; he’s the last of his kind, and he’s lonely. Proposing a daring quest to seek out his rumored distant relatives, he enlists Sir Lionel’s help in an odyssey around the world to find the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
Together with Adelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana), an independent and resourceful adventurer who possesses the only known map to the group’s secret destination, the unlikely trio embarks on a riotous rollercoaster of a ride. Along the way, our fearless explorers encounter more than their fair share of peril, stalked at every turn by dastardly villains seeking to thwart their mission. Through it all, Mr. Link’s disarming charm and good-humored conviction provide the emotional and comedic foundation of this fun-filled family film.
Bursting with humor, heart, and a profound message of acceptance and finding one’s place, Missing Link is written and directed by Oscar® nominee Chris Butler (ParaNorman). LAIKA’s head of production and Oscar® nominee Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman, Kubo and the Two Strings) is producing with Mr. Knight, who earned an Academy Award® nomination and BAFTA win for his directorial debut on Kubo.
“It was a constant source of delight to witness how our game and captivating cast imbued these larger- than- life characters with distinct personality,” said writer/director Chris Butler. “Hugh lends Sir Lionel a giddy schoolboy enthusiasm bubbling beneath the surface of his suave English gent; Zoe brings an unflappable ardor and a witty playfulness to Adelina, and Zach’s performance as Link is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but a beautifully nuanced balance of innocence and vulnerability. It was a treat to be able to join this eclectic gang of adventurers on their journey across the world.”
In addition to Jackman, Saldana and Galifianakis, the estimable voice cast boasts a roster of internationally renowned and award-winning actors from all corners of the world. Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility), Stephen Fry (The Hobbit), Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Matt Lucas (Alice In Wonderland), David Walliams (Little Britain), Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) and Ching Valdes-Aran (Nurse Jackie) bring their extraordinary talents to this globe-trotting spectacle.
“It’s only now with our fifth film that as a team we have the experience, the know-how and the collaborative confidence to even attempt a movie of this size and scope,” said producer Arianne Sutner. “We created 110 sets with 65 unique locations to achieve the film’s scale, majesty and geographic beauty. I couldn’t be more in awe of our LAIKA crew members. Their endless reserves of imagination were pushed to the limit during the production of this ambitious movie, and we ended up soaring past those limits.”