James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen have joined the voice cast of Aardman Animations’ 3D CG-animated family comedy ArthurChristmas for Sony Pictures Animation.

Sony will release on November 23, 2011. The story takes place on Christmas night and reveals Santa’s ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole.

McAvoy leads the cast as Arthur, the good-natured but clumsy younger son of Santa. Laurie will play Arthur’s older brother Steve, heir to the reins and a cool and capable character who has brought high-tech efficiency and military-style precision to the North Pole.

Broadbent plays Santa, by now more of a figurehead at an operation that has outgrown him. Nighy plays Santa’s 136-year-old father, Grandsanta, a curmudgeon who hates the modern world. Jensen will play Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion with an eager-to-please attitude and an obsession with wrapping and bows. Staunton rounds out the cast as Mrs Santa, dedicated wife and mother to her husband and sons.

Sarah Smith is directing from a screenplay she co-wrote with Peter Baynham. Barry Cook is co-director. Steve Pegram is producing and Carla Shelley, Peter Lord and David Sproxton are executive producers.

“We are thrilled to have assembled such a phenomenal group of actors for Arthur Christmas,” Smith said. “Not only are they all terrifically funny, charming and characterful but they have also brought an emotional subtlety and depth that gives the film great heart.”