Missing Link, the highly-anticipated new LAIKA stop motion animated film, brought stars and families together on the red carpet at the Regal Cinemas Battery Park.
The movie tells the story of adventurer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) and his quest to reunite the fabled Sasquatch, nicknamed Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), with ‘cousins’ in Shangri-La with the help of fellow explorer Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana). A tale of self-discovery and acceptance, Missing Link brings whimsical fun for an endearing twist on a classic coming of age story.
Stars Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, and Amrita Acharia walked the red carpet alongside writer-director Chris Butler and producers Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner. A kids-centric reception featuring face painting, a ball pit, and life-sized characters entertained younger fans prior to the film screening.
Actress Paula Garcés and son Antonio Andres Hernandez enjoyed the reception, with former “Real Housewives of New York” stars Kristen and Josh Taekman and influencers Eva Chen, Brianne Manz, Mary Wassner, and Suzanne Cohen attending with their respective children in tow.
Missing Link lead actress Zoe Saldana explained her personal admiration for stop motion animation as one of her motivations to be involved in the film. “I’ve loved stop motion since I was a child. I have massive respect for the artists that devote their career to this form of art and filmmaking,” Saldana said. “Also the story was really inspiring.”
Similarly, actress Amrita Acharia was drawn to the movie specifically due to LAIKA’s animation. “I love their stuff, and it was just amazing to be part of something so magical,” Acharia said.
Missing Link marks the fourth collaboration between writer-director Butler and Oregon-based animation company LAIKA. The notably lighter subject matter compared to previous films such as Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings was just one of the many changes Missing Link posed for LAIKA. According to LAIKA head of production and producer Arianne Sutner, Missing Link was the largest scale project for the company, spanning 65 unique sets and requiring over 400 people. Sutner credits the heartwarming story as the driving force behind the five-year project. “It’s [about] what all humans face: you want to belong, and sometimes that’s with your family of origin and sometimes you work to create your own identity and find that family,” Sutner explained. “It’s universal and true. I enjoy spending time with these characters.”
Writer-director Butler was inspired to tell a story that was “a little brighter, a little bolder, a little more comical” in Missing Link to explore another side of his work. “I think what we try to do each time is tell a different kind of story and it was time to be a bit more playful, have a bit more fun,” Butler said. Missing Link also marks the first film with adult main characters, no doubt changing the tone as well.
The premiere itself was similarly full of wonder and fun as Hugh Jackman posed with children on the carpet and Zoe Saldana spoke in Spanish to young fans. The warmth of the cast and crew behind Missing Link only speaks to the film’s charm, making it a welcomed kid-friendly movie in time for spring.
Missing Link is in theaters April 12th.