Aardman's Arthur Christmas Lines Up All-Star British Cast

Posted In | News Categories: CG, Films, Voice Acting | Geographic Region: All | Site Categories: 3D, CG, Films, Voice Acting
Press Release from Aardman Animations

CULVER CITY, Calif., November 2, 2010 – James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, and Ashley Jensen, have joined the voice cast of the 3D, CG-animated family comedy, Arthur Christmas.  The highly anticipated film, produced by Aardman Animations for Sony Pictures Animation, is slated for release November 23, 2011.

Set on Christmas night, the story of Arthur Christmas at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic – a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns.

McAvoy leads the cast as Arthur, the good-natured but clumsy younger son of Santa. Arthur LOVES everything to do with Christmas; indeed, he is the only one in his family still captivated by the magic of the holiday.  Laurie will play Arthur’s older brother Steve, heir to the reins, a cool, incredibly capable guy who has given the North Pole high-tech efficiency, military-style precision. Broadbent plays Santa, who pictures himself as the guy in charge at the North Pole, but is now more of a figurehead as the operation has outgrown him. Nighy plays Santa’s 136-year-old father, Grandsanta, a cranky old codger who hates the modern world, is always grumbling that Christmas ‘was better when I was Santa’ and has a tense relationship with Steve, who he calls ‘A postman with a spaceship.’ Jensen will play Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion, with an eager-to-please attitude and an obsession with wrapping and bows.   Imelda Staunton rounds out the cast as Mrs. Santa, dedicated wife and mother to her husband and sons.

The director of Arthur Christmas is Sarah Smith.  The screenplay is by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith.  Barry Cook is Co-Director. Producer is Steve Pegram. Production Designer is Evgeni Tomov. Executive Producers are Carla Shelley, Peter Lord and David Sproxton.  Michael Giacchino and Adam Cohen are the composers.

Commenting on the announcement, Smith said, “We are thrilled to have assembled such a phenomenal group of actors for Arthur Christmas.  Not only are they all terrifically funny, charming and characterful but they have also brought an emotional subtlety and depth that gives the film great heart.”

JAMES McAVOY played the iconic role of Mr. Tumnus the Faun in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which became a global phenomenon, making over $700 million worldwide and helping him win the Rising Star Award at the 2006 BAFTAs. He then played the lead in the award-winning The Last King of Scotland alongside Forest Whitaker, and was nominated for a BAFTA, a BIFA (British Independent Film Award), a European Film Award and a London Critics Circle Award. He next starred inAtonement, which earned him Golden Globe and BAFTA Best Actor nominations and won him Best Actor awards at the London Film Critics Circle Awards and the Empire Awards. He went on to play the lead role in the global smash hit Wanted, alongside Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, and most recently starred opposite Helen Mirren and Christopher Plumber in The Last Station, based on the life of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.  His many other film and television credits include “Regeneration,” “Band of Brothers,” “Children of Dune,” “State of Play,” Bright Young Things, “Shameless,” Starter for Ten, Becoming Jane, and Rory O’Shea Was Here, for which he was nominated in the British Actor of the Year category at the 2005 London Critics Circle Awards.  He will soon appear in Robert Redford’s The Conspirator and in Wanted 2, and his voice will be heard in the animated featureGnomeo and Juliet.  McAvoy is currently filming the role of Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, filming began in the UK in September 2010 and the film is slated for a summer 2011 release.


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