To say Missing Link had a bad weekend at the box office would be an understatement. It debuted in 9th place, making south of $6M. The stop-motion animation is superb and the script has important messages, but it fails to connect the characters to young viewers the studio is aiming for. It’s gotten critical raves from most of my critical brethren, but not at this site!
The film does take its characters on two different types of journeys: adventures and acceptance. So when we got to hang with the stars who voiced our intrepid characters, that’s exactly what we talked about.
To quote Rocker Laureate Pat Benatar, We Belong. The quest for acceptance is something we can all relate to. In the film, our adventurer, Sir Lionel (Jackman), wants the approval of his senior adventurers. Link (Galifianakis) wants to join his cousins the Yeti, and Adelina (Saldana) wants to be herself and not just seen as a helpless woman.
“I think that sense of longing to belong, I think it’s part of nature,” Zoe told me. “I do believe through the way that we are nurtured, or not nurtured enough, either by our communities, our societies, our stigmas, our cultures, that can contribute to that yearning for acceptance and affirmation of others.”
She knows it’s hard, but it’s a deeply personal, individual effort. “When you decide, because it has to be a choice as well, to make that shift in your life and sort of go ‘before your acceptance of me is important, but my acceptance of myself has to come first. And I have to practice that. Then you find true meaning. Or at least you start, you shift gears on how you approach your life moving forward. And that’s a really beautiful discovery.”
And she knows, because she’s been there. “It’s a choice. And for some people, they don’t know that they have it. They don’t really exercise it. And for some, they’re afraid to make that choice, because it will require discipline and bravery you know. But at the end of the day, it’s the best choice you can make for yourself, to accept yourself.”
As for Zach, he relates to Link, telling me he’s no stranger to rejection. “I’ve been rejected over 1500 times in my life. Mostly at auditions. And some on the dating scene. 500.”
He’s only slightly joking. But he’s learned from the tough times. “Rejection’s tough. But rejection makes you strong,” And he brought that to Mr. Link. “I think the Missing Link’s acceptance we all can feel. We’re social creatures. Human beings are social creatures. We do need connection. A lot of us need connection. And this is a human story. It just happens to be with an eight foot ape-like creature.”
While others were asking the trio about their favorite adventures, I decided to ask about the adventures they regret passing up. The questions took them a moment to process — always a sign you’re likely to get a good answer!
Zoe went back to her youth, telling me “I wanted to go backpacking in South America when I was in my late teens or early twenties.”
But her mom was not about it. “My mom is not the kind of parent that believes in young adults going on backpacking journey and sleeping you know in places and taking public transportation. Especially for women she just has this fear. So we didn’t go because we promised we wouldn’t go, my sisters and I.”
“And I look back and I think god knows what I would have discovered on my own had I gone on that journey,”
But her fabulous career has more than made up for it. “I was able as an adult to go on so many journeys for myself. And to cushion it according to my comfort levels. I actually don’t have any regrets. I’ve been on so many adventures. At the end of the day I always feel like everything is meant to happen,”
Hugh has the opposite problem. “My life has been defined by basically saying yes to every adventure. I’m the classic FOMO kid, fear of missing out. My problem is over booking, not under booking.”
It’s true, Hugh has been super busy for the past 25 years of so. But he does have one regret. “There’s one I missed the boat on. I did pass on the musical of Chicago. That was a mistake.”
Turns out, his youth scared him off the job! “I figured I was too young at the time. I was 30. My character had a line of ‘I’ve seen it all, kid.’ I thought I couldn’t pull that off. When I saw the movie I was like ‘I should have just worn a lot of makeup.'”
Zach’s missed opportunity is truly out of the world. “You know the Mars rover team? I was supposed to be a part of that. But I had an appointment at the DMV.”
I feel ya, been there done that. “I’m having a tough time with the DMV. So I had to go to the DMV instead.”
“Have you ever been to the DMV instead of Mars? Yeah you would choose Mars over the DMV,”
Zach also implied he has some professional regrets, specifically making one Hangover movie too many. “I had this guy come up to me the other day and he was like ‘Excuse me. Anybody tell you you look like the guy from Hangover Three?'”
“I go ‘yeah I get that a lot.’ But the fact that he picked the worst one. Not the other two, which are watchable. But the third one. It was just funny to me I don’t know why.”
Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Stoli Orange Screwdrivers, the perfect hangover drink in Vegas. Trust me! Unlike Zach’s Hangover character, I advise against roofie-ing your drink. The vodka’s good enough!