How ‘Missing Link’ Filmmakers Blew Up Associate in Nursing Ice Bridge in Stop-Motion Animation

Oregon-based Laika already undertakes a mountainous task with each film it makes; the stop-motion animation and digital effects house is known for painstakingly creating its puppets and miniature sets by hand. But when it came to its latest film, Missing Link, the studio was faced with one of the most daunting scenes it has ever executed — a chase across a crumbling ice bridge.

Missing Link is a globe-trotting adventure that follows explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), who encounters a yeti named Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis) and agrees to help him find his relatives in the Himalayas and the fabled Shangri-La. It’s the fifth film from Laika, following CoralineParaNormanThe Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings — all of which received Oscar nominations.

The new movie features numerous moments that required the filmmakers to flex their muscles — one scene with Mr. Link’s pants ripping at the derriere involved a specialty rig that pulled the seams apart and pushed the yeti’s fur through the tear. And for the film’s climax in the mountains, the filmmakers wanted to portray Frost and Mr. Link, along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), balanced precariously on an ice bridge with the villains in hot pursuit.