Last weekend, I was invited to Beverly Hills, California by United Artists Releasing for a once in a lifetime chance to interview some of the stars from Missing Link Movie. This post is in partnership with United Artists Releasing who provided me with a trip to Beverly Hills for the Missing Link press interview event.
This was my first time to California, so visiting Beverly Hills was a memorable first trip that will be hard to beat! The warm sunshine, palm trees, and exotic cars were awe inspiring.
I had a beautiful view of the beautiful hills from my hotel room at the Beverly Hilton, which also happens to be where the Golden Globes was held this year!
I took some time to explore the city by walking along Santa Monica Blvd and Rodeo Drive. It was really cool to see the upscale designer stores and high-end vehicles driving around like they were a dime-a-dozen!
Consequently, this glimpse into how the “other-half” lives, set the stage to enjoy a good movie.
I was at Beverly Hills to view a pre-screening of the new upcoming animated film Missing Link! We rode the bus in the above picture to the Real D Theater. I sat up top and enjoyed the wind flowing through my hair. It isn’t everyday you get to ride on a double decker bus, so I made sure to take full advantage!
About the Movie
Missing Link is a stop motion animated movie directed and written by Chris Butler. It’s an action packed family comedy from LAIKA that stars the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, and Zoe Saldana to name a few.
Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) is 8 feet tall, 630 lbs, and covered in fur. He’s actually what some might call “Sasquatch” or “Big Foot”! He’s not what you’d expect from that description though.
Mr. Link is lovable and sincere, with an innocence one could only possess after living a life isolated in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest
Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is a fearless explorer and hunter of legendary beasts. After receiving an anonymous letter pointing him to Sasquatch, he set out to prove his existence. What he found was Mr. Link, which to Sir Lionel Frost’s surprise could speak, read, and write (It was actually Mr. Link who sent the letter)!
They embark on a long journey to the valley of Shangri-La in search of Mr. Link’s long lost relatives – the Yeti!
Along the way, they’re joined by the witty and fearless adventurer/explorer Angelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana). (You’ll love how they come to join each other on this adventure. It’s quite hilarious!)
The three explorers continue on a comedic and action packed journey to Shangri-La where things don’t exactly go as expected. But along the way, the three grow closer and discover what truly matters in life.
How Missing Link Came Together…
The day after the screening, I participated in a press conference with writer/director Chris Butler, Actress Zoe Saldana, and Actor Comedian Zach Galifianakis. It was a surreal experience sitting in the same room as these talented people and meeting them.
The interview lasted 20 minutes and was enlightening to hear their thoughts about the movie. Below are some parts of the interview that resonated with me the most.
During the interview process we learned how the Missing Link movie was conceived and animated. In addition, we discovered what drew Zoe Saldana and Zach Galifianakis to their characters.
Question: “This Laika filmmaking process is so time intensive… I would really like to hear from each of you what the process of like is building these characters and then after a period of years finally seeing them coming to life.”
Chris Butler: “Well, I suppose it starts with me… maybe 15 years ago, maybe longer, I start with an idea, and you know I doodle in my sketchbook and writing little notes down. Over the years, I keep coming in and out of different ideas. This one really started with a drawing that I did of Mr. Link, which has been described as a hairy avocado, with legs. There was something about that drawing that I just kept coming back to, and people kept saying, “That is a very charming thing.””
“That really ended up becoming Mr. Link in this movie. But I’ve gotta say, you know, I’m writing it, and when I’m writing I’ve got this little movie playing in my head. So I have an idea of what I think the movie’s gonna be, but then I give these script pages to these guys (points to the actors) and they come in and they turn it into something else. Suddenly, what I had on the page or in my head is something living and breathing and has its own identity that these guys bring to it.”
Question: “What is that like, breathing this new life into these, you know, these babies of his?”
Zoe Saldana: “You’re making peace with the fact that you’re gonna have to wait four years. You’re gonna be like four years older, to see something is a little bit of a canker sore for me. But I love stop-motion, there’s just something that is just aesthetically pleasing. When you hear that it’s time consuming, that means that only people that are a part of this world make the choice to be here.”
“That means that there’s a level of commitment, passion, devotion and artistry that is invested in this form of art that Laika just refuses to let die. So, that is what attracted me in the first place to want to do it. I think I’m used to being a part of projects that take forever to make. And it’s always like leaps of faith. But Chris Butler was very convincing and he was wonderful. When he showed me all the reference pictures and I was able to see Adelina, I fell in love with the whole story of it. And then he said that Zach and Hugh were already signed on, I said, “Okay, absolutely, yes, I’m gonna do it.”
Zach Galifianakis: “I’ve always wanted to play a hairy avocado, or I’ve been told I look like a hairy avocado. I wish it was hairy bravado… The real characterization is the animation that happens from the voice. The genius of this stuff is to watch what they’ve done with your voice, and how the…animators animate the face with the voice… It is really amazing hand-eye coordination. …The voice we get to do, but…the magic to me is…they actually make me interesting!”
My Final Thoughts
Missing Link is an action packed, uplifting family movie that made me laugh out loud on several occasions! It contains every element necessary to make a movie engaging for me – comedy, action, suspense, adventure, and fellowship.
The most awe inspiring aspect of the movie is the fact that it’s stop motion animated. That means every movement of the characters we see on the film consists of multiple mini-movements that come together to produce a 1hr 35min movie!
That’s me in the picture above with the lead animator. The puppets on the table are the actual puppets used in the movie. They can be moved into any pose as needed. Their facial expressions can also be fine-tuned to match the emotions of the scene and setting. It’s so amazing to see how all their hard work comes together to make Missing Link.
Whether you have kids or not, I believe you’ll love Missing Link. It’s simply a really enjoyable film that will keep you engaged from the very start to the credits.
I can’t wait to watch it with my kids! I know they’ll love it!
See the Missing Link Trailer
Get Tickets Now
#MissingLink hits theaters everywhere April 12. Get your tickets now! bit.ly/MissingLinkTix