The Oregon-based animation studio Laika has been bringing gorgeous, exciting, and most importantly unique films to the screen with its past three features—Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls—and now the stop-motion animation studio has revealed its next project. Production is underway on a “sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in mythical ancient Japan” called Kubo and the Two Strings, and the project is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First of all, it marks the directorial debut of Laika President and CEO Travis Knight, who himself has worked as an animator on all of the studio’s films to date. Second, it features the studio’s most high-profile cast to date, including Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron.
Hit the jump for more on the film, which will hit theaters on August 19, 2016.
A couple of months ago, Laika and Focus Features renewed their partnership with a new three-picture deal, and today it was announced that Kubo and the Two Strings will mark the first of those three films. In addition to McConaughey and Theron, the voice cast for the 3D stop-motion feature includes Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro, with Game of Thrones alum Art Parkinson (aka Rickon Stark) providing the voice of the title character Kubo. The Laika folks are big Game of Thrones fans it seems, as Isaac Hempstead Wright led the voice cast for The Boxtrolls.
Knight calls Kubo a “gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters.” It sounds like Laika’s most ambitious feature yet, and as a big fan of their output thus far, I can’t wait to see the finished results. Check out the full, official synopsis for Kubo and the Two Strings below:
In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars.