The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Sir Ben Kingsley lies down to bring animated villain to life in 'The Boxtrolls'

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SAN DIEGO - Sir Ben Kingsley was lying down on the job while making his latest film, the stop-motion animated feature "The Boxtrolls."

"I did most of my recordings lying down, reclining on a kind of sofa bed," the 70-year-old Oscar winner told an audience Saturday at Comic-Con. "I wanted his voice to come from his belly, not from where my voice normally comes from. It was a very relaxed recording session, and I did nod off occasionally."

Kingsley added that he found it "very liberating just to depend upon my voice to bring this extraordinary creature to life."

Made by the studio behind "Coraline" and "ParaNorman," ''The Boxtrolls" follows a family of underground creatures who come out after dark to collect above-ground garbage to construct their ever-evolving world. A human boy, voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright of "Game of Thrones," lives among them and believes he, too, is a Boxtroll.

Kingsley's character, Snatcher, is convinced the creatures are evil and aims to put an end to them.

"Snatcher is designed to be one of the greatest, all-time animated villains, so he's got to have that sense of malevolence. He's got to be very intimidating and yet at the same time, there's sort of a degree of vulnerability there," filmmaker Travis Knight said. "We thought there was absolutely no chance we would get Ben Kingsley. When he said yes, we celebrated throughout the studio."

Other stars lending voices to the stop-motion film 10 years in the making are Elle Fanning (whose older sister, Dakota, voiced the lead character in "Coraline"), Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Tracy Morgan.

The presentation ended with Kingsley and other cast members leading the audience of more than 6,000 in a cheer for Morgan, who was severely injured in a June auto accident. As the filmmakers captured video on their mobile phones, the crowd cheered, "We love you Tracy."

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

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