Hugh Grant to Lend Voice to THE PIRATES! Film


Hugh Grant will voice the lead role alongside an all-star cast in The Pirates! Band of Misfits, the new stop-motion, 3D, animated film produced by Aardman Animations for Sony Pictures Animation. The film, which will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, will be released March 30, 2012 in North America.

Hugh Grant, starring in his first animated role, is the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain - a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has One Dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It's a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!

The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Aardman's most ambitious stop-motion film to date, will be created with the same beautiful hand-crafted technique that the company brought to the Academy Award®-winning film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse ofthe Were-Rabbit and Chicken Run. The film is directed by Peter Lord, a founding partner of Aardman, director of Chicken Run (with Nick Park), and a two-time Academy Award® nominee for his short films at the company. The film is co-directed by Jeff Newitt. The screenplay is by Gideon Defoe, based upon his books. Production Designer is Norman Garwood. Producers are Peter Lord, David Sproxton, and Julie Lockhart. Executive Producer is Carla Shelley.

Commenting on the announcement, Lord said, "I'm so grateful to the entire cast for their talent and energy. The characters that they've created fill the screen with life and fun. As the Pirate Captain, Hugh Grant has given a stand-out performance - he combines an effortless on-screen warmth with brilliant comic timing. And as the leader of our motley pirate crew, he shows a real barnstorming, swashbuckling side of his character as well. Only Hugh could anchor this story of love, loyalty, greed, and nautical high-jinks."

Hugh Grant most recently starred in DidYou Hear About the Morgans?, Music and Lyrics, American Dreamz, Bridget Jones's Diary and its sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, both with Renee Zellweger; the ensemble comedy hit Love Actually, and Two Weeks' Notice. He won a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA for his performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and was nominated for Golden Globes for his performances in Notting Hill and Abouta Boy. His many other feature film credits include An Awfully Big Adventure, TheEnglishmanWho Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Sense andSensibility, Mickey Blue Eyes, Small Time Crooks, and Extreme Measures, which he also produced.

Martin Freeman has worked extensively in theatre, television, and film. He will soon begin production in the title role of Peter Jackson's TheHobbit. His many film credits include Swinging with the Finkels, WildTarget, Nativity!, Nightwatching, Hot Fuzz, Dedication, The GoodNight, Breaking and Entering, The All Together, Confetti, The Hitchhiker'sGuide to the Galaxy, Love Actually, and Ali G Indahouse. Theatre includes "The Exonerated," "Blue Eyes," "Kosher Harry," and "The Comedians"; Freeman's last stage performance was late 2010 in the smash hit "Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris at the Royal Court. Television includes "The Office" (BBC - Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais & Nick Jones), "Micros Men" (BBC - Saul Metzstein), "Boy Meets Girl" (ITV - Alrick Riley), "The Robinsons" (BBC - Mark Bussell & Justin Sbresni), "Hardwear" (ITV - Ben Kellet), "Charles II" (BBC - Joe Wright). Last year Martin starred in "Sherlock" playing Dr Watson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, produced by Sue Vertue for BBC.

David Tennant is best known for his three seasons starring in the BBC's "Doctor Who" - and was voted by the fans as the Best Doctor in the long history of the show. Tennant's many film roles include the forthcoming Fright Night and The Decoy Bride, as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, St. Trinian's II:The Legend of Fritton's Gold, Glorious 39, Bright Young Things, LA Without aMap, and Jude, among others. He also voiced a role in How to Train Your Dragon. His television work includes the BBC's forthcoming "United" as well as "Hamlet," "Einstein and Eddington," "Learners," "Recovery," "Secret Smile," "Casanova," and "Blackpool," among many others. In June, he will star in "Much Ado About Nothing" in the West End. Other theatre includes "Hamlet," "Love's Labour's Lost," for the Royal Shakespeare Company, "Look Back in Anger," and "The Pillowman" at the Royal National Theatre.

Imelda Staunton is an Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award nominee for her performance in the title role of Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, which also earned her a BAFTA Award, among other honors. Her many film credits include Alice in Wonderland, Taking Woodstock, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Shakespeare in Love, Nanny McPhee, Much AdoAbout Nothing, Peter's Friends, Twelfth Night, Freedom Writers, Crush, Bright Young Things, and Antonia and Jane. Her voice was heard in Chicken Run, and she is currently voicing a role in Aardman's/Sony Pictures Animation's Arthur Christmas, set for release this fall.

Her television credits include starring in the series "Up the Garden Path," "Little Britain" (during the third season), and "Big and Small." She was a member of the repertory cast of the television series "Thompson," with Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, and Robbie Coltrane; and has starred in such notable miniseries and telefilms as "The Singing Detective" (written by Dennis Potter), "David Copperfield," "The Wind in the Willows," "Fingersmith," and, most recently, "Cranford." On stage, she has won two Olivier Awards, for Alan Ayckbourn's National Theatre staging of his play "A Chorus of Disapproval," and for Richard Jones' staging of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods." Ms Staunton was also an Olivier Award nominee for her performance in Richard Eyre's Royal National Theatre staging of "Guys and Dolls."

Jeremy Piven's upcoming film projects include the ensemble thriller I MeltWith You, the indie drama Drift, and Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World. Piven has received acting honors for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the slick, fast-talking super agent Ari Gold in the smash hit HBO original series "Entourage." For his work on the show, Piven won three consecutive Emmy Awards and garnered six consecutive Golden Globe nominations, taking home the award in 2008. In addition, Piven has been honored by his peers with six Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, earning three for his individual performance on "Entourage" and three more as part of the series' ensemble cast. In 2008, he made his Broadway debut in a revival of David Mamet's play "Speed the Plow." His many other film credits include Rocknrolla, The Goods: Live HardSell Hard Runaway Jury, OldSchool, Black Hawk Down, Serendipity, Rush Hour 2, The Family Man, Very BadThings, The Kingdom, Singles, Smokin' Aces, and The Player. On television, Piven was a series regular on "Cupid" and "Ellen" and appeared numerous times on "The Larry Sanders Show." His credits also include the telefilm "Don King: Only in America."