McAvoy, Laurie, ‘Harry Potter’ Trio Join Animated ‘Christmas’

Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton will voice Santa’s family in the 3D comedy

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" stars Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton will join James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie and Ashley Jensen in Aardman Animation's 3D, CG-animated family comedy "Arthur Christmas," Sony Pictures Animation announced on Tuesday.

Set on Christmas Eve, the story will finally answer the age-old question of how Santa manages to deliver millions of presents across the globe in the span of a single night — there's an ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole!

The film will introduce Santa's comically dysfunctional family, and focus on his son Arthur, a good-natured but clumsy young man tasked with an urgent mission that he must complete before Christmas morning.

McAvoy will play the title character, an unlikely hero who loves everything to do with Christmas and is the only one in his family who is still captivated by the magic of the holiday.

Laurie will play Arthur's older brother Steve, the cool, incredibly capable heir to Santa's reins who sees that the North Pole is run with military-style precision.

Broadbent will play Santa as a legend whose operation has outgrown him, and Staunton will play his dedicated wife, Mrs. Santa.

Nighy will play Santa's 136-year-old father, Grandsanta, a cranky old codger who hates the modern world and misses his role as Santa.

As for Jensen, she'll play Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion with an eager-to-please attitude and an obsession with wrapping and bows.

Sarah Smith ("The Armando Iannucci Shows") will direct "Arthur Christmas" from a script she co-wrote with Oscar nominee Peter Baynham ("Borat"), and Barry Cook ("Mulan") will co-direct.

Steve Pegram will produce the picture, while Carla Shelley, Peter Lord and David Sproxton will exec produce.

The talented Michael Giacchino ("Star Trek") is on board to compose the score with Adam Cohen.

Sony will release "Arthur Christmas" on Nov. 23, 2011.