James McAvoy & Hugh Laurie Lend Voices to 'Arthur Christmas'
by Ethan Anderton
November 2, 2010
About a year and a half ago, we heard about a couple new projects from the charming Aardman Animation (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit). Today a press release from Sony Pictures Animation revealed some details on the CG animated holiday family film Arthur Christmas. The film sets out to answer the question of how Santa Claus delivers all his presents in one night. James McAvoy (Atonement), Hugh Laurie ("House M.D.") Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge), Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Imelda Staunton (Taking Woodstock) and Ashley Jensen ("Ugly Betty") will all provide voices for this Christmas themed, 3D animated, family comedy.
McAvoy leads the cast as Arthur, the good-natured but clumsy younger son of Santa Claus who seems to be the only member of the family still enamored with the magic of Christmas. Laurie plays 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 the big man in red himself who finds himself taking a backseat to the major operation that preparing for Christmas has become. Nighy will voice the 136-year old Grandsanta, a cranky old codger who hates the modern world and liked Christmas better back in the day. Staunton plays Mrs. Santa while Jensen will play Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion, with an eager-to-please attitude and an obsession with wrapping and bows.
This sounds like a somewhat interesting family film for the holidays, and the voice cast is quite an impressive line-up. Sarah Smith has the job of directing this family feature along with Barry Cook and she also wrote the script with Peter Baynham. Holiday films are a tricky animal and there's quite a lot of pressure to become one of the new modern classics that will play network television during that most wonderful time of the year. Arthur Christmas will hit theaters on November 23, 2011, so that's when we'll see if it's good enough to watch every Christmas thereafter. Interested?