Take a look back a the LAIKA villains so far and then watch a sneak peek of Kubo and the Two Strings!
Late last year, LAIKA celebrated ten years of its own unique brand of big-screen storytelling. Next month, the Portland-based animation studio will deliver to eager audiences its fourth stop-motion feature film. Kubo and the Two Strings marks the directorial debut of LAIKA CEO Travis Knight. An Annie Award winning animator, Knight has himself animated key sequences in every LAIKA film to date: 2009’s Coraline, 2012’s ParaNorman and 2014’s The Boxtrolls. With Kubo set to deliver the studio’s most ambitious tale to date, ComingSoon.net is proud to reveal an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the film with a special video featurette titled “Creatures of Darkness.” Before we explore the foes of Kubo, however, we’re taking a quick look back at the LAIKA villains so far.
If you’re not already familiar with the plots of Coraline, ParaNorman and/or The Boxtrolls, you might want to tread lightly as the following contains spoilers for each.
LAIKA Villains: Coraline’s Other Mother
Based on Neil Gaiman‘s 2002 novel, Coraline offered a truly terrifying foe in Coraline’s Other Mother. Also known as the Beldam, the button-eyed Other Mother lives in a mirror reality that, at first, seems an improvement on Coraline’s normal life. It’s soon learned, however, that the Other Mother has dark plans for Coraline. The Beldam wants to replace Coraline’s own eyes with buttons and trap the girl’s soul in her own dark dimension.
The first LAIKA villain is voiced by Teri Hatcher and, as the film progresses, we see her in a number of different forms. The first is a near perfect match for Coraline’s regular mother (also voiced by Hatcher), while the creature’s final form is depicted as a massive spider-like creature.
LAIKA Villains: Agatha Prenderghast
Called Aggie for short, Agatha Prenderghast is technically the big bad of ParaNorman. Unlike Coraline‘s Other Mother, however, you might find yourself relating to exactly where Aggie’s wrath is coming from. A little girl living in early 18th century Blithe’s Hallow, Massachusetts, Agatha — like Norman himself — was born with an ability to speak with the dead. Accused of witchcraft for her supernatural talent, Aggie was hanged. Her enraged spirit lived on, however, as a curse on the seven judges that sentenced her led to her bringing them back as undead monsters exactly 300 years later.
Aggie was voiced by Jodelle Ferland, well known to fans of the horror genre. In addition to roles roles in films like Silent Hill and The Cabin in the Woods, Ferland played a recurring role in The Twilight Saga and voiced the Little Sisters in 2KGames‘ BioShock 2.
LAIKA Villains: Archibald Snatcher
Leave it to the legendary Sir Ben Kingsley to voice someone as bizarrely layered as The Boxtrolls‘ Archibald Snatcher. A Dickensian foe with a plan to both off the boxtrolls and blackmail the town of Cheesebridge into granting him high society status, Snatcher is thoroughly unpleasant and far too proud for his own good. In such desperation to fit in with high society, Snatcher eats the elite class’ cheese despite being extremely allergic. The result is a sequence unlike anything stop-motion has ever seen before.
Snatcher also spreads Boxtroll fear and mistrust when he performs in drag under the surprisingly popular stage identity Madame Frou-Frou. That should put you in a pretty good mindset for the levels of originality involved when it comes to crafting LAIKA villains. Expect that to pay off in a big way in Kubo and the Two Strings!
From an original screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler (ParaNorman) and based on an idea by the film’s character designer Shannon Tindle, Kubo and the Two Strings offers a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan.
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.
Kubo is being brought to life at LAIKA’s Oregon studios via the company’s innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique. In addition to directing, Travis Knight is producing Kubo and the Two Strings with Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman). The all-star voice cast includes Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron; Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro; and Art Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Which or the LAIKA villains so far is your favorite? Which of the Kubo creatures are you most excited to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments below!