Portland-based stop-motion animation hub LAIKA has released a new trailer for its wonderful new globe-trotting movie Missing link, which is coming to theaters on April 12, 2019. The charming adventure centers on Mr. Link, an eight-feet tall, 630-lbs, fur-covered creature, who is funny, sweet, and adorably literal.
Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis) recruits fearless explorer and cryptologist Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), the fearless trio of explorers encounter more than their fair share of peril as they travel to the far reaches of the world to help their new friend. Through it all, the three learn that sometimes you can find a family in the places you least expect.
The film is written and directed by Chris Butler (ParaNorman) and produced by studio head Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner. I features the voices of Galifiankis, Jackman, Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Emma Thompson, Matt Lucas, Ching Valdes-Aran, Stephen Fry and Amrita Acharia.
Butler, who wrote and directed the studio’s acclaimed Oscar and BATFA Award-nominated 2012 movie ParaNorman, and also worked on features such as Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride and Laika’s Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, says he loves telling stories that are outside the realm of traditional animated movies. “Here at Laika, we tend to make movies that other studios may not do,” says the Liverpool, U.K.-born director. “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.’”
He adds, “I also wanted to a Victorian-era setting, because I am obsessed with that age, in particular Sherlock Holmes. You can basically sum up my childhood with the two movies — ParaNorman and this. We did zombies with ParaNorman, and the rest of my obsessions are showcased in this movie—monsters, Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, the Victorian era—all thrown in together in one story.”
Butler says the wanted to move stop-motion away from the darker themes that the general public associate with the technique. “People think of it as slightly creepy, and I I wanted to step out of the shadows with this movie,” he admits. “I didn’t want it to be a Halloween movie or a ghost story. There’s more to stop motion than Ladislas Darevich, Jan Svankmajer and Tim Burton—as much as I love them. Travis [Knight] always says that we should be able to tell any story in stop-motion. That’s why I wanted to do something that was a polar opposite of those other films.”
Missing Link will be the biggest movie the studio has done in terms of scope and scale. It features more digital characters and set extensions than ever before, and is LAIKA’s first movie not featuring child protagonists. “We really wanted to push everything farther,” says Butler. “Theoretically, this movie shouldn’t have been done in stop-motion, but we managed to tell the story anyway, with a special nod to the colorful photos and grand landscapes from National Geographic magazines. One way to describe it is what if Around the World in 80 Days was directed by David Lean starred Laurel and Hardy!”