Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana will be joining LAIKA's next stop-motion movie. Following the studio's success with films like Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, LAIKA is scouting for new talent to voice their creations, and they're starting with some familiar stars.
The Academy Award-winning animation studios LAIKA recently announced their fifth film, following Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline, and though there is currently no information regarding the plot or title (as of now, it's being dubbed Film Five), it is currently in production, with Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakas joining the cast to lend their voices. What little information there is regarding the film is that it will be a "rip-roaring, globetrotting comedy adventure" centered around characters finding their purpose and place in life. Annapurna Pictures will release the film.
LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight and Megan Ellison, Founder and CEO of Annapurna Pictures, released an official statement regarding the direction of the film, as well as how it represents the future of the studio. Having first started its journey into feature-length movies as a collaborative studio with Tim Burton Productions on the 2005 stop-motion movie Corpse Bride, LAIKA made its official debut with the Neil Gaiman adaptation Coraline, and Knight explains that Film Five "represents an evolutionary shift for LAIKA," as well as "an exciting bridge" to the future of their studio. Director Chris Butler added that "the wizards at LAIKA have crafted a moving work of art, layered with wit and imagination and soul," and that it's going to be "really, really funny."
Their collaboration with Annapurna Pictures - a studio that has produced Academy Award-winning films like Spike Jonze's Her and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread - proves that LAIKA is clearly trying to push the envelope, so to speak. Ellison explained that Annapurna Pictures is excited to collaborate with "the amazing team at LAIKA," with Annapurna's only other animated feature film being the Seth Rogen comedy Sausage Party.
While it's unclear what sort of roles Jackman, Saldana, and Galifianakas will play in the upcoming movie, this won't be their first rodeo with voice acting. Jackman voiced Bunny in Rise of the Guardians, Memphis in Happy Feet, and Roddy in Flushed Away; Saldana voiced Maria in The Book of Life; and Galifianakas voiced Joker in The LEGO Batman Movie, Humpty Alexander Dumpty in Puss in Boots, and several characters on the Fox animated television series' Bob's Burgers and American Dad!.
Beginning with Coraline, LAIKA has proven themselves to be a powerhouse in stop-motion animation. Not only have their films proven to be consistent critical successes (their lowest-rated film is The Boxtrolls, with a "certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes at 75 percent), they've also been awards favorites. All four of their films have received Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, with Kubo and the Two Strings being the sole outlier, earning a second nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Given the talent involved, it's doubtful that "Film Five" will fail to continue the studio's consecutive streak of success.