I was invited on an all expenses paid trip to cover the Kubo Movie for you. All opinions are my own.
Interviews are such a fun part of the movie junket process. It’s interesting to hear the behind the scenes stuff that you don’t hear about! So check out my interviews with Matthew Mcconauhey, Charlize Theron and Art Parkinson!
What drew you to the Kubo and the Two Strings project:
Matthew: Laika seems to have stories with good morales, adventure and this script just had all that.
Charlize: I love directness and I was raised with alot of directness. With storytelling we forget that with children. There’s something about this that was just so clear for me. As far as Denise goes I like that there’s nothing about her that shy’s away from the real issues. At the end of the day that makes it very powerful. And the mother was a monkey…
Art Parkinson: I think it was such a good family oriented film and that’s what drew me to the project.
How did you prepare for the voice roles?
Matthew: This was my first that I have ever done. I just had children and wanted them to see a movie I’ve done. Laika heard something I did and they reached out after that. I didn’t try too hard to prepare. I listened to the guys at the sushi bars. LOL
Charlize: My kids would have to be 52 before they saw my movies. So it’s nice that now that’s change. There was a constant conversation. It was very laid back and relaxing. I’d never done voice work so if I read to my son he’d tell me to stop doing those voices. It was funny. I was nervous about the process but it was very relaxed. It was the core of storytelling. Travis was very encouraging about whatever was outside my comfort zone. Art and I got to do some stuff together. We got to play off each other. Although I don’t recognize him right now. Who is this man in front of me? (said of Art).
Art: I had a very big afro at the time. LOL Travis was always very encouraging in the ways I wanted to portray the character.
What was the kids reaction to the story:
Matthew: I read the script to my kids. They got into it. They understood it and I watched their reactions. We went and then watched the film. I had a great time watching the kids watch the film. My oldest son always loves the goofy sideckick and I got to be the goofy sidekick. They loved it. My wife thoroughly loved it and still talks about it. She had a great emotional ride watching it.
What do you draw upon (like memories) to help you with this film? What helped you to play monkey or kubo?
Charlize: I was raised by a single mom. Being a parent myself I raise them the same way my mom did. There’s no part in my life I felt somehow cheated from. My mom always told me the exact answer to a qquestion was. Sometimes I felt she told too much in the moment. But I think it’s always good to be honest with your kids. It’s so refreshing to see the kids flourish with our honesty. I think Monkey has two very different characteristics. One is loving and one is dry and sensible. Get up, get up! I connected with that. That is very real.
Matthew: I don’t know if I did draw on a specific memory. Beetle is all me. One of the things I liked about the story is that you have to fight for your own happy ending. Don’t deny what’s out there, truth may be hard but it’s the only thing that gives you the happy ending.
Art: I connected to it as me and my mother are very close. Kubo and his mother are very close. He treated her very respectfully and I brought that from my own relationship with my mother.
It’s scary living in this country right now and I adopted an african american child. How do you talk to your kids about what’s going on in this world right now?
Specifically For Charlize: It’s so hard right now. You have to have the conversation in a way that they can understand it. You want them to understand it though. I break it down to how much we need to take care of each other and care for each other. He’s brown and I’m white and that’s the beauty in our world. He said to me the other day, “This is what you’re talking about mom. We should go help him. (referring to a homeless man).” That’s what’s beautiful in our world. What do we think family is? Family is who we can count on like in Kubo. We need more of that in this world. We need to have empathy towards those that are different. This way we’ll actually accept each other. It’s a very long road. It’s hard.
After seeing the process of creating the movie were any of you able to do very much adlibbing?
Charlize: Travis Knight (producer and director) is the kindest man. He gave us all ownership in this. He wanted us to step into these bodies.He knew he wanted us to take on these roles. We knew the sky was the limit. He did that for us.
Matthew: I liked to walk in and say press record and don’t press stop for the next 12 hours. The sky’s the limit. It was a fun process. You can’t really screw up. And if you do it’s just tape. I played around alot.
Art: I felt that if I had any ideas I’d bring them to Travis. Travis let us bring the characters to life in our own way. He gave us the instruments to do so. He was very supportive and helpful.
Kubo’s quest begins nationwide August 19, 2016 from animation studio LAIKA and Focus Features.
Wondering what Kubo and the Two Strings is about?
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.
Director: Travis Knight
Writers: Marc Haimes, Chris Butler (“ParaNorman”); Story by Shannon Tindle, Marc Haimes
Voice Cast: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Rooney Mara, and Matthew McConaughey
Make sure you check out my other Kubo posts for more info! My interviews with Matthew Mcconaughey, Charlize Theron and Art Parkinson. The trailer posts, interactive map and soon my upcoming interview with Travis Knight.