James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie Join 'Arthur Christmas' Voice Cast

James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen have joined the voice cast of Arthur Christmas, a 3D, CG-animated family comedy from Aardman Animations.

Sarah Smith is directing and co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Baynham. Barry Cook is co-directing the pic, which is produced by Sony Pictures Animation and sports a release date of Nov. 23, 2011.

The story answers every child's question -- "So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?" -- and focuses on Santa's ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole.

McAvoy plays Arthur, the good-natured but clumsy younger son of Santa and the only one in his family still captivated by the magic of the holiday. Laurie plays Arthur's older brother Steve, the heir to the operation who has given the North Pole a high-tech, military-style precision.

Broadbent plays Santa, who pictures himself as the guy in charge at the North Pole but is now more of a figurehead as the operation has outgrown him. Nighy plays Santa's 136-year-old father, Grandsanta, a cranky codger who hates the modern world, is always grumbling that Christmas "was better when I was Santa" and has a tense relationship with Steve.

Jensen plays Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion, and Staunton rounds out the cast as Mrs. Santa.

Michael Giacchino and Adam Cohen are composing the score.

Peter Oberth
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