‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ Director Travis Knight on Why Laika Doesn’t Test Screen Films

     August 16, 2016

Travis Knight has been working at Laika since the studio was founded in 2005. He served as a producer and the lead animator on The Boxtrolls and ParaNorman, the lead animator on Coraline, he’s been the President and CEO of Laika since 2009 and now he’s making his feature directorial debut with the company’s latest release – Kubo and the Two Strings.

The stop-motion animated film focuses on a young boy named Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) who goes on the run after accidentally unleashing an evil supernatural entity. With Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) by his side, Kubo sets out on an epic adventure to learn about his legacy and to reunite with his family.

With Kubo and the Two Strings making its way into theaters nationwide on August 19th, Knight took some time to swing by the Collider Videos studio to chat about his experience making the film. You can catch what he told me about making the decision to direct his first feature, what the development process is like at Laika, competing with heavy-hitters like Pixar and Disney Animation, and more in the video interview at the top of this article.


Image via LAIKA/Universal

Travis Knight:

  • 00:33 – Why make Kubo and the Two Strings his directorial debut; what drew him to the material?
  • 02:37 – Is there a pitch process at Laika similar to the one at Pixar; how they develop their projects.
  • 03:45 – They do no test screen their films; figuring out how much to explain about Kubo’s supernatural powers.
  • 05:55 – Kubo is Laika’s most ambitious film yet; the importance of keeping the team together from film to film.
  • 07:17 – Are there any Easter eggs from Laika’s other movies in Kubo?
  • 08:04 – Picking the voice cast; getting familiar talent but avoiding having a recognizable voice pull you out of the narrative.
  • 10:20 – The small details that are especially difficult to animate; the giant skeleton is the biggest puppet they’ve ever made.
  • 12:47  Comparing Laika box office results to juggernauts like Disney and Pixar.

Image via Laika/Universal


Image via Haleigh Foutch


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