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Zoe Saldana on Missing Link - The actress loves the animated project

Zoe’s interview covers inspiring scenes, character relationships and more!

Apr 11, 2019

By: Lynn Barker

In the new stop-motion animated comedy adventure Missing Link, actress Zoe Saldana from Star Trek, Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy, voices feisty Latina Adelina Fortnight, a Victorian-era widow who has withdrawn after her adventurer husband died. When old boyfriend Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) arrives looking for her husband’s map to Shangri-La, Adelina is at first stunned that Lionel is accompanied by a very big but kindly Bigfoot creature dubbed Mr. Link (voice of Zach Galifianakis). Adelina feels sorry for Link who is very lonely and hopes to find “relatives” or “cousins” among the Yeti (Abominable Snowman) tribe in Shangri-La.

Missing Link Trailer


Zoe at the press conference for Missing LinkZoe at the press conference for the filmCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Coming out of her shell to join the adventure and protect her dead husband’s legacy, Adelina finds herself coming alive and longing for her own adventures.  Zoe tells us about the story, her character and the things she enjoyed and learned while working on the film. Check out this fun interview with the popular actress.

Zoe with the Adelina stop-motion puppetZoe with the Adelina stop-motion puppetCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: How do you feel about the stop-motion animation process that Laika studios uses on this film?

  • Zoe: This is a form of animation not done hardly anywhere and for Laika Studios to immortalize what otherwise would be a dying form of art, just a lot of respect goes out to them from my end. The way the studio is set up, it’s so organized and so beautiful that you feel like you’re in this factory of dreamers. Everybody is meticulously working on that one small detail of a bigger thing and they’re carrying that execution with do much perfection and so much dedication. It really felt like I was in a different world when I stepped into Laika.

A stop-motion animator adjusts Adelina puppetA stop-motion animator adjusts Adelina puppetCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: How would you describe the Sir Lionel and Mr. Link characters that your character Adelina interacts with?

  • Zoe: Lionel (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is this cold and superficial individual that purposefully intends on being a mile wide and an inch deep. He never wants to go any deeper and when he does go deep. It’s usually about his character and his reputation on which he puts so much weight but, in reality, what this is masking is that he is being neglected by this group of people and all he ever wants is their approval.
  • Here you have Mr. Link who, on the other side of the world, almost parallel to Lionel’s life, he finds himself longing to be around beings, to be around people, to have conversations to fall in love, to have friends because he feels really, really lonely.

Adelina on the adventure with LinkAdelina on the adventure with LinkCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: What is up with your cool, feisty character Adelina?

  • Zoe: Adelina is this character who has been kind of stuck in limbo since her husband passed away. She feels like she’s under his shadow even though he hasn’t been in her life for years. By fulfilling his dream of going to Shangri-La, she’s able to discover her longing and is able to discover herself and going on her own adventures and trusting herself.

Q: What is the story of Missing Link actually about?

  • Zoe: The story is about wanting to belong, between three individuals who find themselves together on an unexpected journey and then realize that the treasure they were looking for was always there within their friendship.

Feisty widow Andelina Fortnight greets LionelFeisty widow Andelina Fortnight greets LionelCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: Do you have a favorite scene that inspires you?

  • Zoe: When Lionel meets the Loch Ness monster in the first scene, it’s an epic action scene. Here is this stop-motion animation character caught in an epic action scene meeting an extraordinary monster and when I witness those moments in cinema, I feel very grateful to be a part of it but I’m also taught and inspired to keep working diligently and not settle when art can be better. To always strive for that.

Q: How was your experience working with director/writer Chris Butler?

  • Zoe: Working with Chris was amazing. He’s so passionate> He wrote this amazing story. These characters were real to him and usually when I was coming in to the studio and doing my voice overs I was usually acting with him and not Hugh or Zach and, honestly, it was fantastic because he’s patient and he’s able to go back and revisit the choices that we’ve made as a director and actor for Adelina, then kind of bouncing back and forth with your boss, you captain, feels amazing when you’re both aligned, when you want the story to be great when you want your character to steal the show (she laughs). Chris is definitely a champion for the story, for you and that felt really great.

Adelina (right) leads Lionel and Link on their adventureAdelina (right) leads Lionel and Link on their adventureCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the film?

  • Zoe: I think the lessons that are learned. There is something fantastic about your lead character (Lionel) being the most flawed of all the characters in the story and that lesson that that character learns, not only is it most rewarding for that character but it is rewarding for you (the audience) who has been living for two hours vicariously through him. I think that Lionel Frost is a character that starts in such a place that it takes you a long time to soften up to him. By the end of the journey, you’re rooting for him and you’re proud of him because you meet Mr. Link and you meet Adelina and you go “They’re perfect”. They’re righteous. They have a true and natural sense of justice. They have good and really clean hearts and then there is Lionel (she laughs). So you are able to bounce yourself back and forth between Link and Adelina and also Lionel.

Adelina needs a little help!Adelina needs a little help!Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: So what exactly is the relationship between Link and Adelina? They were in love in the past or what?

  • Zoe: Yeah. I think one reason that Adelina is so bothered by Lionel Frost is because she does know his heart. She knows that he is a good person. And, the fact that that good a heart is just being weighed down by all these bad habits and this narcissism really irritates her. I do believe that when they very first met, they had natural and super-impactful chemistry and they can’t deny that and, in the same way, she can’t deny her disappointment in the fact that yes, she likes him but he makes it really difficult for her to like him and she feels really torn feeling that way about him.

Animator works with Adelina puppet Animator works with Adelina puppetCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Q: Let’s go to the relationship between Adelina and Mr. Link. What is that like?

  • Zoe: Her relationship with Mr. Link also evolves because I think her rigidity compels her to look at a creature like Mr. Link and disregard him, thinking, he’s nothing like me and then to realize that Mr. Link has so much depth and so much longing that it completely melts her heart and she’s immediately sold and she’s on his side for everything.

Zoe as Neytiri in AvatarZoe as Neytiri in Avatar

Q: Adelina changes a lot in the film. How can you describe that?

  • Zoe: She takes it upon herself to go on this mission. At first she thinks it is just to finally get to help realize something that her husband really never got to do. She goes from going on this adventure for that and goes to staying on the adventure because she has to find a family for lonely Mr. Link. It’s a very beautiful and compelling character arc for her.

Zoe as Uhura in Star TrekZoe as Uhura in Star TrekCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Mr. Link’s voice coming out of Zach Galifianakis is pretty fun. Do you think so?

  • Zoe: When you see a creature that is so big you are expecting a deep voice that, sometimes may make you very conflicted to like him but the moment he opens his mouth with Zach’s voice, it’s impossible to be tense or uncomfortable or to be scared of Mr. Link.

Missing Link Movie PosterCourtesy of Annapurna Pictures

See Missing Link in theaters Friday, April 12th

Express Yourself!

Do you enjoy stop-motion movies like Coraline, KuboParaNorman or Wallace and Gromit films? Are you into adventure films? Are you a Zoe Saldana fan? Talk it up with a comment and/or on your Kidzworld profile page.