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James McAvoy and Hugh Laurie lead off the voice cast of Aardman's 'Arthur Christmas'

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

Sarah Smith is directing and co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Baynham. Barry Cook is co-directing the highly-anticipated film, which has a Nov. 23, 2011 release date slotted.
The story of Arthur Christmas answers to 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.
According to the announcement, McAvoy (Wanted) leads the cast as 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 (TV’s House) will play Arthur’s older brother Steve, heir to the operation and who has given the North Pole high-tech efficiency, military-style precision.

Broadbent (The Damned United) 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 (Love Actually) plays Santa’s 136-year-old father, Grandsanta, a cranky old codger who hates the modern world, is always grumbling that Christmas ‘was better when I was Santa’ and has a tense relationship with Steve, who he calls ‘A postman with a spaceship.’

Jensen (BBC’s Extras) will play Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion and Staunton (Vera Drake) rounds out the cast as Mrs. Santa, dedicated wife and mother to her husband and sons.
Michael Giacchino and Adam Cohen are composing the score.