×

Why Matthew McConaughey Chose ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ as His First Animated Film

Although “Kubo and the Two Strings” marks Matthew McConaughey‘s first animated film, the actor admitted that his interest in voice acting preceded his involvement in Laika’s latest stop-motion fantasy.

“I’d been looking for a voice acting role for years. When this came along — it’s a quality production, Laika’s quality, the story’s good — I was in,” McConaughey told Variety at the film’s Los Angeles premiere. “I haven’t made many films lately, in the last 15 years, that are children-friendly so it was nice to make something that [my kids] can go to.”

The Oscar-winning actor plays a light-hearted human-turned-insect in the fantasy epic, which follows a young Japanese storyteller’s mystical quest to defeat evil and protect his family’s legacy. Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, and George Takei also lend their voices to the film, which marks Laika CEO Travis Knight‘s directorial debut.

Popular on Variety

For “Kubo” screenwriter Marc Haimes, the goal was to spark imaginative, boundless thinking in young viewers — an effect he recalled experiencing while watching classics like “The Empire Strikes Back” during his childhood. “It was my ambition to create those moments that really challenge a kid and expand their definition of how stories and storytelling works,” he said.

The “Kubo” premiere, held at of Universal Studios Hollywood, kicked off with a carnival-style pre-party, complete with cookie decorating, cotton candy, snow cones, and mini donuts. Party guests were also in close proximity to Laika’s “From Coraline to Kubo” interactive exhibit and a showcase of Nike’s special edition “Kubo”-inspired sneakers.

Kubo and the Two Strings” hits theaters Aug. 19.

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski with star Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, producer Arianne Sutner, director and Laika CEO Travis Knight and star Art Parkinson. Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

More Scene

  • Logan Lerman Jordan Peele Al Pacino

    Al Pacino and Carol Kane Had a ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ Reunion on the ‘Hunters’ Set

    Nearly 45 years after Al Pacino and Carol Kane appeared in Sidney Lumet’s classic film “Dog Day Afternoon,” an Amazon Prime Video series about Nazi-hunters in 1977 New York City has brought them back together. Go figure. “I’m proud to be working with him again,” Kane told Variety at the “Hunters” premiere on Wednesday night [...]

  • Anya Taylor Joy Emma Premiere

    Anya Taylor-Joy on Playing Jane Austen's Clever, Callous Protagonist in 'Emma'

    It was an evening of elegance at the Los Angeles premiere of Focus Features’ “Emma” on Tuesday night. The red carpet was lined with pastel floral arrangements at the DGA Theater, priming visitors to be transported to the ornate pageantry of Georgian-era England, as depicted in this new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic tale. Anya [...]

  • Tom Holland Chris Pratt Onward Premiere

    Tom Holland and Chris Pratt Show Off Real-Life Bond at Pixar's 'Onward' Premiere

    Pixar’s new movie “Onward” marks a reunion of sorts for Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. The two actors, who both have ties to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and most recently teamed in “Avengers: Endgame” as Spider-Man and Star-Lord, play brothers in the animated fantasy adventure. Their friendship has become a highlight of “Onward’s” promotional tour [...]

  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph

    Da’Vine Joy Randolph Praises Hulu's 'High Fidelity' for Telling a Realistic New York Story

    If HBO’s “Girls” characterized a certain type of young, disaffected millennial, fumbling cluelessly around a gentrifying Brooklyn, and if “Sex and the City” used Manhattan as a tantalizing playground for a class of well-connected, glamorous and decidedly 90s-bound women, both shows had one thing in common: they were painfully, inevitably white. “We’re gonna fix that!,” [...]

  • Harrison Ford Call of the Wild

    Why Harrison Ford Wanted to Play John Thornton in ‘The Call of the Wild’

    Joining legends like Charlton Heston and Clarke Gable, who have played the role of John Thornton in “The Call of the Wild,” Harrison Ford now stands next to a CGI-enhanced version of the dog named Buck in the latest adaptation of Jack London’s classic 1903 novel. “I thought the film has a lot to say [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content