The Hilarious Improv Moment Zach Galifianakis Was Surprised Made It Into Missing Link

Zach Galifianakis as Susan in Missing Link
(Image credit: (Laika))

Laika’s latest stop-motion adventure, Missing Link, enlisted hilarious comedian Zach Galifianakis to voice the adorably awkward sasquatch. The actor known for The Hangover movies, the deadpan web show Between Two Ferns and the FX series Baskets brings to life some of the biggest laughs and sweetest moments in the family film, including some that were brought forth by his own comedic genius.

I recently had the chance to speak to Zach Galifianakis during the Missing Link press junket in Los Angeles. During our interview, I asked him how much he was involved in crafting the personality of his animated character. Here’s what he said:

You throw in your two cents here and there and you don’t want to over improvise because you want to give the words their justice but you throw out things here and there. The name “Susan,” I think that was an improvised line. I can’t believe they left it in the movie because it’s something that I think is funny but I don’t know about movie audiences necessarily. I was so pleased that they put that in there but [Chris Butler] the director knew what he was doing and what he wanted, so the credit needs to go to him.

If you’ve seen the trailers for Missing Link thus far, this likely rings a bell! In the animated movie, the adventurer Bigfoot calls upon for help to find his long lost cousins is Lionel Frost (played by Hugh Jackman), who drums up a rapport with the tall furry creature. The only problem is he doesn’t have a name. When Lionel asks him he goes for Susan… yes, Susan. While the name isn’t exactly what Lionel is expecting the legendary beast to name himself, considering the animal’s soft nature and quirky sensibility, it’s oddly fitting. Check out Zach Galifianakis talk about the improvised line below:

The improvised line is perfect to cut the tension in the scene, and moviegoers will likely find themselves remembering this cute tidbit of the movie long after they leave the theater. It’s interesting to know that Zach Galifianakis was actually the one to come up with this line for the film, though the actor also credits Missing Link writer/director Chris Butler, who was also behind Kubo and the Two Strings and Paranorman over at Laika’s incredible animation studio when it comes to crediting the origins of the character.

Missing Link is the fifth movie from the stop-motion company and Susan is the heaviest lead character the studio has crafted so far with its puppeteering technology and life-like sets. The movie is its most ambitious project yet, as it featured over 100 actual sets portraying locations from across the globe as Susan, Lionel and Adelina (played by Zoe Saldana) search for the treasured land of Shangri-La. You can check out Missing Link in theaters on April 12.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.