Laika and Focus Features’ fourth collaboration, called Kubo and the Two Strings, is set in ancient, mythical Japan and will follow a young boy from a peaceful seaside town as he faces down gods and monsters from the past. The voice cast features Hollywood stars from Matthew McConaughey to Ralph Fiennes, and visually the film will implement a fusion of the stop motion animation Laika is known for with CGI techniques. This is something Laika has done before, but according to Laika president and CEO Kubo and the Two Strings will push beyond anything Laika has done before. “It’s kind of like it’s as if Stand By Me was set in a Temple Of Doom through the prism of Kurosawa on a bender of bath salts.” Color us intrigued.Along with McConaughey and Fiennes, voices for the movie will be provided by Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Brenda Vaccaro, and newcomer Art Parkinson, most known as Rickon Stark from Game of Thrones, who’ll be providing titular character Kubo’s voice. That will mean Stark children will headline a Laika production in two straight trips to the theater, as Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) voiced hero Eggs in The Boxtrolls. As mentioned, this is the fourth collaboration between Laika and Focus, following Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, and kicks off a renewed partnership between the two companies that will run for Laika’s next three films (including Kubo and the Two Strings).
Knight is making his directorial debut with this movie alongside, with support coming in the form of a script by ParaNorman writer-director Chris Butler and Marc Haimes. The script is inspired by Japanese ancient culture and myths, and will follow Kubo’s quest to defeat these spirits who restart an age-old vendetta, with Kubo setting out to find his father’s suit of armor, the uniform for the samurai soldiers of old.
Focus Features will be releasing Kubo and the Two Strings on August 19, 2016.