"Empire" star Tasha Smith. Photo credit Kylie Krabbe courtesy of Liquid Soul Inc.

“Empire” Star Tasha Smith Meets “Kubo” At Special LA Screening

In concert with Laika’s new animated release “Kubo And The Two Strings,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron, Laika threw a star studded party last week to preview the movie and kick off the on site Universal Studios Hollywood exhibition “From Coraline To Kubo: A Magical Laika Experience.”

The exhibition/screening party featured rarely seen original props, puppets and set pieces from Laika’s Academy Award Winning release “Coraline” (2009), “ParaNorman” (2012),“The Box Trolls”(2014), and this year’s  “Kubo And The Two Strings.”

In keeping with Kubo’s asian inspired themes,  Laika went all out with the perks for those lucky enough to be in attendance.  Professional origami artists created intricate paper “doodles” of characters from the movie.

For those with a sweet tooth, a candy master made edible sculptures of majestic dragons, birds and monkeys that were almost too beautiful to eat.  The lavish party took place at Universal Studios Hollywood.

On hand at the fete were “Kubo And The Two Strings” director Travis Knight and “Empire” actress Tasha Smith.  Fun fact?  Director Travis Knight used to be a rapper known as Chilly Tee.

Nevertheless, on the subject of his one rap album, a 1993 release titled “Get Off Mine,” Knight is the definition of low key as first quoted in The Portland Monthly: “Nobody bought that record, ” said Knight, adding: ” I liked making music, but I hated the performing part of it.  I think there’s a reason most animators are hidden behind giant curtains.  They’re not meant for the spotlight.”

Knight, who started out as a stop-motion animator on Eddie Murphy Productions’  television series “The PJs” is the son of Phil Knight, the founder and chairman of Nike, Inc.

See what both Knight and Smith had to say to All Hip Hop about all things “Kubo And The Two Strings”:

“Kubo And The Two Strings” opens in theaters nationwide on August 19, 2016.