Laika's next film "Kubo and the Two Strings." (Click to enlarge.)
Concept art from Laika’s next film “Kubo and the Two Strings.” (Click to enlarge.)

Laika announced today its fourth feature film Kubo and the Two Strings. The film will mark the directorial debut of animator Travis Knight, who is also the CEO of Laika and son of the studio’s owner Phil Knight. The studio has previously made Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), and this year’s The Boxtrolls.

Based on an original screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler (ParaNorman), the film is set in a mythical ancient Japan. It will be produced using the same mix of stop motion and CGI that was used on the studio’s most recent film The Boxtrolls. Voice cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro; the title character of Kubo will be voiced by Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones).

In the film, a humble boy from the village, Kubo, has his life disrupted when a spirit from the past tries to enforce an ancient vendetta. Kubo must avoid gods and monsters while he searches for a magical suit of armor once worn by his father, the greatest samurai of all-time.

The film, says Travis Knight, is “a gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters.”

Continues Knight:

At once epic and intimate, Kubo is a funny, intense, and ultimately uplifting fairy tale draped in some of the most bizarre and exciting imagery I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, it’s deeply moving. It’s a story that means something, a story that deserves to be told. In short, it’s a LAIKA movie. And with a poetic script, sublime cast, and our freakishly talented artists and craftspeople, Kubo will be a strange, stirring, and altogether stunning film. I can’t wait to share it with the world.

Focus Features will launch the film in the United States on August 19, 2016. Universal Pictures International will distribute the film abroad.

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