Mr. Link, of course. Written and directed by Chris Butler, who previously wrote and helmed LAIKA's terrific ghost story ParaNorman, this new film revolves around a creature named Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis) who recruits a fearless explorer (Hugh Jackman) to help him find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
The trailer establishes the central story, naturally, but it also gives viewers a look into the whimsical, colorful, larger-than-life world LAIKA crafted with Missing Link.
The way that Laika combines stop-motion craftsmanship with digital technology continues to be unique within the industry. LAIKA's head of production and Oscar nominee Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman, Kubo and the Two Strings) is producing with Knight, who earned an Academy Award nomination and BAFTA win for his directorial debut on Kubo. There's more to stop motion than Ladislas Darevich, Jan Svankmajer and Tim Burton-as much as I love them. The story follows the journey of a gentleman-scientist, "Mr. Link" (the Missing Link), and an adventurer seeking out Mr. Link's family.
Butler says the wanted to move stop-motion away from the darker themes that the general public associate with the technique.
Making such a huge film in stop-motion format was no easy task for Butler, who described Missing Link as "by far ..."
This looks much cutesier than anything in Laika's past, but also looks to bring the gorgeous, textured animation style that has become the studio's signature.
"We basically took a grab bag of everything we've done and tried to push it farther", Butler explained. "In some ways, The Missing Link may be the most commercial movie that we've done, which all started with me saying, 'I want a stop-motion Indiana Jones'". "I think on paper there's no way this movie should have been made in stop-motion, but we did it anyway".
In addition to Jackman, Saldana and Galifianakis, the voice cast includes Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, and Amrita Acharia.