Aardman Animations' upcoming 3D stop-motion film "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" has found the voice for its lead pirate in Hugh Grant.

He will join an all-star cast that includes Salma Hayek ("Ugly Betty"), Jeremy Piven ("Entourage"), Martin Freeman (the U.K. "Office"), David Tennant ("Doctor Who"), Imelda Staunton (the "Harry Potter" films), Brendan Gleeson (also in the "Harry Potter" films), Russell Tovey (BBC's "Being Human"), and Ashley Jensen ("Extras").

Grant will play the lushly coiffed Pirate Captain, an enthusiastic, but less-than-successful  buccaneer hoping to beat his fellow pirates Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the revered Pirate Of The Year Award.  

Aardman Studios, of course, are behind such stop-motion films as Oscar-winning "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and "Chicken Run." This will be their first time working in 3D.  

The film is being directed by Peter Lord ("Chicken Run") and co-directed by Jeff Newitt. The screenplay was penned by Gideon Defoe, based upon his books. The film will be distributed by Columbia Pictures.


"I’m so grateful to the entire cast for their talent and energy," said lord in a statement. "The characters that they’ve created fill the screen with life and fun. As the Pirate Captain, Hugh Grant has given a stand-out performance – he combines an effortless on-screen warmth with brilliant comic timing. And as the leader of our motley pirate crew, he shows a real barnstorming, swashbuckling side of his character as well.  Only Hugh could anchor this story of love, loyalty, greed, and nautical high-jinks."

"Pirates" will be released March 30, 2012.