ParaNorman: The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
Director: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Alex Borstein, Tempestt Bledsoe, Hannah Noyes
Comic-Con: One of the nice surprises about seeing ParaNorman is how much Anna Kendrick‘s voice work leads itself to a wonderful animated performance.
Kendrick stars as Courtney, the exasperated sister who sighs so hard sometimes, you can feel it from your theater seat. Courtney is Norman’s sister, who has a hard time believing that her little brother can see and talk to dead people. But, when the small town they live in is overrun with zombies and ghosts, she is the first to get behind Norman and his powers.
Kendrick, who was nominated for a Tony Award for the Broadway play High Society at 12 years old, talked to me at a press roundtable at Comic-Con about how nervous she was on her first venture into voice-acting and watching her voice come out of an animated character. Read more
Comic-Con: Kodi Smit-McPhee is Norman, the young boy who can see and talk to dead people in the wonderfully entertaining stop-motion animated film, ParaNorman.
I got a chance to talk with Kodi at Comic-Con where he talked about how he gets into character, whether its film or animation, perfecting his American accent (he’s Australian) and seeing his voice in a stop-motion character.
What types of qualities were you interested in conveying through your voice for Norman?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Right, it’s always been a kind of dream for me to do a character and do a character voice as well. And I actually hadn’t read the script while I was auditioning so I just auditioned these sides they gave me. I didn’t know how big it was gonna be, if it was something just little, sent it off, and then found out I got the job.
And when I read the script and had a bit more of the character in my head, I started working on traits and stuff. And really I found out he’s just like me, but I can’t see ghosts. Or hear them. Read more
Interview: Christopher Mintz-Plasse on ‘ParaNorman’: “They didn’t have me audition. And I was like, ‘Alright, that’s risky guys. I could really mess this up!’”
Comic-Con: The new stop-motion animated film ParaNorman is a one of those semi-rare films that any member of the family can watch and actually enjoy. Even with all of the zombies, the film is beautiful and it’s also smart and thanks to the vocal talents of Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick Ass), funny.
ParaNorman is about a young boy, Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who can see dead people. He’s relentlessly made fun of by the school bully Alvin (Mintz-Plasse) but when the small town they live in gets invaded by ghosts and zombies, Norman and Alvin have to work together to banish the ghouls. And in the end, Alvin takes all of the credit… of course.
Mintz-Plasse was at Comic-Con and talked with me and several other press about the voice-over process, how he got the part and what is what like to finally see the face of his character. Read more
Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a normal, young boy. He loves to sit on the couch and watch TV with his Grandmother (Elaine Stritch), chat with people as he walks down the street in his small town and play with all of the dogs and cats as he passes them by.
There’s only one problem. They’re all dead.
Ok, so he might not be your typical young boy.
But that’s ok, because when the town suddenly becomes overrun with ghosts, ghouls and zombies, Norman is the only one who can help. But from his disbelieving family and the school bullies, will Norman – ParaNorman – have enough confidence in himself to get rid of the horrors?
The film, from the stop-motion animation studio that gave us 2009’s Coraline, is entertaining and the visuals are outstanding. It’s got humor for young kids – not too young though, there is some creepy stuff going on in the film – and older and a lot of don’t-blink-or-you’ll miss-it moments that someone my age got a big kick out of. The film also has a solid (but not preachy) attitude about bullying and what it’s like to be different. Read more
Anna Kendrick admits to being an animation geek. So it’s easy to see why the actress was so excited to get the part in the upcoming film, ParaNorman.
In an interview with NBC, Kendrick said, “I genuinely love the art form. And I think some of the best storytelling takes place in animation, because they have the luxury of the time to kind of workshop through it. With film sometimes you just get what you got. And you’ve got to edit it the best that you can. And it seems like some of the best storytelling comes through that workshopping process of seeing how the storyboards are coming together and what it actually sounds like once you hear it out loud. So I’m just happy to be a part of this.”
ParaNorman tells the story of a young boy who has to save his town from supernatural forces. Kendrick plays the boy’s older sister. “I’d always wanted to do an animated film, so I jumped at the opportunity,” she said. “This is my first one. I was really nervous because I’m not great at ADR [Automated Dialog Replacement or looping], so I wasn’t sure how this was going to be. But, it was, actually really, really freeing. In ADR, you’re watching your own movie and trying to say your line. In this, I just felt like it was a really safe space, and it was okay to make really ugly faces and really ugly body gestures. To use all those things as tools was really helpful. To not be self-conscious about the way you look on camera helps the intention to be really pure.” Read more