Fantastic news from Laika Studios came during the Cannes Film Festival this May. The prestigious animation company from Oregon announced its latest movie, Missing Link, which until now was known as Film Five. Along with the official title and a first image, the plot, full cast and other details were revealed about Laika’s most ambitious project to date.
Laika is the studio responsible for the critically acclaimed films Coraline (2009), Paranorman (2012), The Box Trolls (2014) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016). They create their magic using a combination of stop-motion and CGI, working on beautifully crafted puppets and sets with cutting-edge technology.
Expectations are high for this ‘artistic and technical wonder’, as described by Laika’s president Travis Knight, and it goes far beyond the world of the stop-motion animation. Here is our report on all the information about Missing Link that is out there at the moment.
What is Missing Link about?
Missing Link is an adventure comedy about a trio of peculiar characters that seems to be set in the late 19th century. They embark on a journey across the world, looking for a mythical valley.
The world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters, Sir Lionel Frost, is in search of social recognition by proving the existence of a legendary creature called The Missing Link. He believes this animal, one of mankind’s ancient ancestors, is living in the Pacific Northwest of America. The Missing Link or Mr. Link turns out to be an endearing but silly simian / ape who experiences moments of genius. But he is lonely and desperately wants to find Shangri-La, a secret valley where more of his kind may still be living. Finally there is Adelina, a free-spirited explorer who is the only one who owns a map to this hidden land.
With this funny family-oriented movie, Laika seems to be moving away from the darker worlds of its earlier films. The studio claims that the story contains a profound message of acceptance and finding one’s place.
When is it premiering?
The approximate release date of Laika’s new masterpiece will be distributed in the U.S. by Annapurna Pictures, and its release is set for Spring 2019. We are expecting to watch the first trailer and more images of the production during this fall 2018.
Who is involved in the production of Missing Link?
Some of the top artists that are part of the large family of Laika Studios are confirmed to be involved in the project. The movie is written and directed by Chris Butler, who was in charge of the studio’s second film, the critically acclaimed ParaNorman. Chris has been in the team since the days of Coraline (2009), and he also is credited as the co-writer of Kubo and the Two Strings.
Ty Johnson, Lead CG Modeler, commented on his Instagram account that he spent more than a year of his life sculpting the main character of Missing Link. He added that this was by far the most difficult puppet that he ever helped engineer.
The studios created over a 110 physical sets and used 65 unique locations for this project that will take about two years to complete.
Who is starring in it?
The voice cast is lead by a group of very popular Hollywood stars. Hugh -Logan- Jackman is Sir Lionel Frost, Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar) plays Adelina Fortnight, and comedian Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) stars as Mr. Link.
Laika has also confirmed that big names like Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timmothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams and Amrita Acharia are also featuring in the movie.
What about laika Studios? Who are these guys?
Just in case you are not familiar with the animated world of stop-motion, let us tell you a bit more about one of its foremost companies.
Founded 13 years ago, Laika could be described as a group of talented artists that want to do their best, each contributing their share to put together the immense puzzle which is each of their projects.
Every new movie they do is more ambitious and pushes the boundaries of the genre in new and creative ways. In Laika they prefer to film in camera as much as possible, while at the same time using the most cutting-edge technology the industry has to offer.
The company is headquartered in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro, Oregon, employing almost 500 people. Laika’s CEO (and director of Kubo and the Two Strings) Travis Knight, commented in the video of Paranorman – Behind the scenes that if they were based in California, they would spend more time outdoors. But weather in Oregon is miserable for at least nine months of the year, so it helps to stay inside playing with dolls.
We can’t wait to see the result of so much hard work!