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MISSING LINK

Director's Statement
There are movies that we watched over and over again as kids. Not because we didn't understand them the first time, but because we loved them so much. These are the films that became part of the vocabulary of our childhood and have stayed with us forever. When I left the theater after seeing these films, I knew I wanted to make worlds like that. I knew I wanted to make films...and animated films in particular.

Now, I'm not one for hyperbole, but categorically, without a doubt, hands down, beyond question, the best movie ever made in the history of the universe is Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was certainly a defining movie during my childhood, with its swashbuckling derring-do; its deft dance between history and mythology; its larger than life characters running the gamut from drama to romance to comedy... well, it pretty much shook my percolating creative mind into a big frothy mess of fantastical possibilities. And when I wasn't discovering the cinematic delights of whip-cracking archeologists, I was eagerly reading about the exploits of a very different kind of hero, one whose popularity has not waned in over 130 years. As he probed the darkest mysteries of the Victorian Age, eccentric genius Sherlock Holmes had me equally thrilled and tantalized.

So, on numerous occasions throughout my career I found myself thinking 'animation needs a new kind of hero'. A little bit Indiana Jones, a little bit Sherlock Holmes. Someone passionate and idiosyncratic and ready to surmount any obstacle in pursuit of his prize. Thus Sir Lionel Frost was born. And what better pursuit for this dashing animated hero than the search for mythical creatures? Basically, I figured if I was going to throw all of my childhood inspirations into a pot, the stew was going to be seasoned with cool Harryhausen-esque beasts.

And that brings us to the yang to Sir Lionel's yin. If Sir Lionel is a nod to Sherlock Holmes, then Mr. Link, or Susan as he renames himself in our film, is his very hairy Watson. He's our titular Missing Link. A Sasquatch. And he's the beating heart of our story. He's basically what you'd get if you crossed John Candy from Planes, Trains and Automobiles with Mighty Joe Young. Stop motion animation has a rich history of soulful primates (perennially popular King Kong, of course, being the granddaddy of them all), so it seemed the perfect medium with which to realize our hirsute hero.

Everyone has heard legends of the Missing Link...a solitary creature roaming the forests of North America. It turns out he's a little too solitary. He's the last of his kind, and he's lonely. He enlists the help of renowned explorer and investigator of myths, Sir Lionel Frost, to guide him on a quest halfway around the world to the mountains of the Himalayas to find his long lost relatives, the Yeti.

The intention was to tell a story that was equal parts ripping yarn and buddy movie. The key to this adventure was not the 'X marks the spot', but the journey itself, and the relationship that forms between these characters. Sir Lionel and Link are an Odd Couple on a kaleidoscopic rollercoaster ride spanning the globe. It's Around The World In 80,000 Frames. (actually, it's not, but Around The World In 139,680 Frames isn't a very good play on words.)

Spectacle aside, I wanted all the action and funny business to be rooted to a genuinely heartfelt theme, in this case: fellowship. Walking in someone else's footsteps (and in Link's case, they're pretty big footsteps!) can take us on a more rewarding journey. Where we belong in this life isn't about place. It's about people.

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