I visited the set of The Boxtrolls as a guest of Focus Films and LAIKA studio; all opinions are my own.

The Boxtrolls Cast - (L to R) Director Anthony Stacchi, Director Graham Annable, Producer David Ichiok and voice talent Nick Frost review a scene during production of LAIKA and Focus Features' family event movie THE BOXTROLLS, opening nationwide September 26th. Credit:  LAIKA, Inc.

(L to R) Director Anthony Stacchi, Director Graham Annable, Producer David Ichiok and voice talent Nick Frost review a scene during production of LAIKA and Focus Features’ family event movie THE BOXTROLLS, opening nationwide September 26th.
Credit: LAIKA, Inc.

Did you catch The Boxtrolls in theatres this weekend? While I wasn’t able to make opening weekend due to illness, ticket sales were fantastic. Early numbers have the film coming in at number three for the weekend, raking in $17 million dollars which will put it above LAIKA’s first two films (ParaNorman and Coraline).

But I’m not surprised. When I saw a sneak peek of the film in March (2014)  I said at the time that this film will become a classic and even promised that you’ll fall in love with the magical world of The Boxtrolls. These weekend numbers prove me right! At that time the lead animator and CEO of LAIKA’s was filming the final scene.

But I’m not gloating, in fact, I couldn’t be happier for LAIKA Studio and their amazingly talented and dedicated staff. You can meet some of them and learn what they do in some of my previous posts where I’ve shared how the puppets are made and filmed, the process of stop motion animation, how the story came to be, the book it’s based on, and more. Read: The BoxTrolls: How LAIKA Animators Brought this Story to Life and The Boxtrolls: How the Puppets Came to Life 

But this time I want to share one of the great stories directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable shared with me during the set visit. They were an animated duo who were obviously proud of their film. They chatted easily about the characters and their love for them. But it’s when they began talking about the voice cast that their smiles changed to giggles as they remembered back on the process of casting their voice actors.

The Boxtrolls: Casting Voice Actors

They had the story and it was time to cast the voice characters. But they needed to the figure out if the voice characters will work well together. They don’t pull them all into one room for a script reading, oh no. These are top-rated actors. Instead, before they even reach out to a prospective cast members, they intercut dialog from other movies that actor has been in to get a feel for how they mesh together. Granted the dialogue doesn’t match, but the nonsensical dialogue gives them idea of how the voices will come together.  These mashups can be quite funny when the dialog is pulled from various movies and mashed together with stop-motion character sequences. I’d love to see these!

(L to R) Animation Supervisor Brad Schiff works on one of the Boxtrolls while Director Graham Annable looks on during production of LAIKA and Focus Features' family event movie THE BOXTROLLS, opening nationwide September 26th. Credit:  Jason Ptaszek / LAIKA, Inc.

(L to R) Animation Supervisor Brad Schiff works on one of the Boxtrolls while Director Graham Annable looks on during production of LAIKA and Focus Features’ family event movie THE BOXTROLLS, opening nationwide September 26th.
Credit: Jason Ptaszek / LAIKA, Inc.

The Boxtrolls Cast : Sir Ben Kinglsey

They went on to discuss how Sir Ben Kinglsey became attached to the project. Both had Kinglsey on their wish list of actors for the roll, but they weren’t certain he’d be interested. It turns out that not only was he interested, but he threw himself into the character. They worked together with the storyboard and script to come up with the villain’s voice, but at the very first voice recording, Kinglsy produced a voice that made the character memorable. They describe this voice as mash-up of Zero Mostel and Tiny Tim.  Kingsley recorded his portion of the film in a tiny recording studio with a booth no larger than most closets in London. Both described Kinglsey as a consummate professional who brought the character to life in that tiny little closet.

Tracy Morgan is also in the film and Stacchi joked that Morgan made it known that he really wanted to work with Kingsley. In true Morgan fashion, he often joked that he was practicing his English accent, though it never sounded any different from his normal voice.

THE BOXTROLLS –  Voice Cast Members Isaac Hempstead Wright and Elle Fanning Tour LAIKA Studios 

Elle Fanning and Isaac Hempstead visit the LAIKA studios to meet the puppets that they’ll portray and take a look at the artistry that goes into creating the magical world of The Boxtrolls!

I love learning some of the fun stories behind-the-scenes and hope you did too!

About The Boxtrolls

The third animation collaboration from LAIKA and Focus Features, the companies that brought you the Academy Award-nominated features PARANORMAN and CORALINE. Based on the novel Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles) by Alan Snow.

The Story: An orphaned boy raised by underground creatures called Boxtrolls comes up from the sewers and out of his box to save his family and the town from the evil exterminator, Archibald Snatcher. The Boxtrolls is coming to theatres September 2014.

For more information visit: Official The Boxtrolls Website  For exclusive behind the scenes content, follow the film on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook Facebook.

Connect with LAIKA – Find out what they’re working on and more about their work on The Boxtrolls on Facebook,  Pinterest , and YouTube.

Have you seen The Boxtrolls?

SOURCE: Box Office Numbers for The BoxTrolls