LAIKA has announced its new stop-motion animated film is titled Missing Link. This will be the fifth animated movie released by the Coraline and Boxtrolls studio overall, as well as their third original film after ParaNorman and Kubo and the Two Strings. Mission Link is being written and directed by Chris Butler, who previously cowrote ParaNorman (which he also co-directed) and Kubo, and served as a storyboard supervisor on Coraline.
It was previously announced that Annapurna Pictures (Sausage Party) is backing Missing Link, with Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana leading the voice cast. LAIKA has now revealed the movie's full voice cast, which includes Zach Galifianankis (A Wrinkle in Time) along with Oscar winner Emma Thompson (The Meyerowitz Stories), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), Stephen Fry (The Hobbit trilogy), Matt Lucas (Doctor Who), Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones), David Walliams (Little Britain), and Ching Valdes-Aran (Across the Universe).
Missing Link will hit theaters next spring, as LAIKA officially announced today at the 71st Cannes Film Festival. LAIKA president and CEO Travis Knight will be meeting with potential foreign rights buyers during the festival, with AGC International handling the sales process. Knight describes Missing Link as the studios's most ambitious venture yet and "a raucous comedy entwined with a swashbuckling epic, underscoring the universal need to find belonging," in an official statement about the film. You can check out the full synopsis for Missing Link below, followed by the first image:
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.
LAIKA has become known for its unique hero's journey narratives and visual splendor, so Missing Link sounds like another chip off the same fine block for the studio. Kubo was the first LAIKA stop-motion film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, but it sounds like Missing Link is aiming to push the bar even higher in that respect. According to the film's producer Arianne Sutner, Missing Link features no less than 110 different sets and 65 separate locations "to achieve the film's scale, majesty and geographic beauty."
As time consuming as stop-motion animation is, the medium has continued to flourish in recent years. Quirky indie filmmakers Charlie Kaufman and Wes Anderson have used stop-motion to express their art in fresh and creative ways over that time, as have more mainstream directors like Tim Burton. Full-time stop motion animation studios LAIKA and Aardman Animations (Early Man) have also continuously evolved their sense of craftsmanship while bringing original stories and characters to the big screen. Based on everything that's been revealed about Missing Link thus far, the film should keep LAIKA's winning streak alive and well when it arrives next year.
We will let you know when Missing Link set a specific Spring 2019 release date.