Recently, LAIKA announced that their mysteriously and temporarily titled new picture “Film Five” would be starring Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis, along with a new domestic distribution deal through Annapurna Pictures and international sales behind handled by AGC International. That’s all well and good for the business side of the incredible, awards-worthy stop-motion animation studio, but today brings better news for fans of their work: An official title, synopsis, and full cast announcement!
LAIKA’s Missing Link, the fifth film from the studio, was revealed earlier today by President and CEO Travis Knight ahead of its arrival at Cannes to be shopped to interested parties. With Jackman, Saldana, and Galifianakis on board, along with the just-revealed new supporting cast, writer/director Chris Butler‘s Missing Link should have a relatively easy time landing buyers ahead of the film’s planned release next spring. Below, we’ve got the full character breakdown along with the first official image to share with you!
Here’s what Knight had to say in a statement:
“Missing Link is an artistic and technical wonder. 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.”
And here’s that hi-res image along with a cast/character breakdown:
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.
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.
Here’s what Butler had to say about the film:
“It was a constant source of delight to witness how our game and captivating cast imbued these larger-than-life characters with distinct personality. 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.”
Producer Arianne Sutner also provided some behind-the-scenes details about the production:
“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. 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.”
Keep an eye out for more from Missing Link in the months ahead!