Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Travis Knight, Chris Butler and Sam Fell are hitting Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con to discuss making their new stop-motion-animated comedy thriller, ParaNorman, made in 3D. Never-before-seen footage will be shown from the Laika movie that Focus Features is opening nationwide on August 17.
In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (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.
You can read the archived version of our live blog below:
Silas Lesnick: PARANORMAN has started with a look at the previously-released second trailer!
Silas Lesnick: They’re reminding the audience that today is Friday the 13th.
Silas Lesnick: Producer and Laika CEO Travis Knight has come onstage along with both directors, Sam Fell and Peter Butler.
Silas Lesnick: Voice talents Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Platz have joined as well
Silas Lesnick: Butler is saying that he’s been working on the film on and off for six years.
Silas Lesnick: He says that the central concept is “John Carpenter meets John Hughes”
Silas Lesnick: They’re also comparing it a mixture of Amblin and George Romero films
Silas Lesnick: “Ray Harryhausen on bath salts”
Silas Lesnick: Both directors are English, but they’re saying that growing up in the 1980’s in the UK still met being heavily influenced by American media.
Silas Lesnick: Kodi is saying that he was excited to do an American audience, but he couldn’t voice the character again because his voice has changed so much with age.
Silas Lesnick: Anna is talking about how freeing it is to voice a role rather than worry about how you look while performing.
Silas Lesnick: The actors were filmed so that the animators could use them as refrence
Silas Lesnick: Christopher is saying that his character is like if he was super-fat
Silas Lesnick: They’re about to show some footage. Hold on….
Silas Lesnick: It’s a behind-the-scenes featurette showing some really great stop motion photograph of the sets as they’re being prepared.
Silas Lesnick: As far as the zombies in the film…
Silas Lesnick: “They shamble. They don’t stroll. They don’t saunter. And they sure as hell don’t run.”
Silas Lesnick: Knight is talking about how the entire Laika team is a band of outcasts and that’s the focus of the film.
Silas Lesnick: “We weren’t the captains of the football team. We spent a lot of time getting shoved into lockers.”
Silas Lesnick: “Now we sit in the dark and play with dolls all day.”
Silas Lesnick: Some of the most challenging shots in PARANORMAN involve crowd scenes, which are terribly tricky for animators.
Silas Lesnick: “Pretty much everything you’re not supposed to do in stop motion, we did. I don’t know if that was brave or just stupid.”
Silas Lesnick: All the actors visited Laika studios during the production.
Silas Lesnick: Anna is talking about the incredible attention to detail and how she liked to, after filming, stop around the city sets like she’s Godzilla.
Silas Lesnick: First clip coming up! Hold on…
Silas Lesnick: In the clip, Norman is on the way to the graveyard. He’s got to read a passage from a book in order to stop a curse.
Silas Lesnick: He arrives, but realizes that something is wrong. The book is not the right one. It’s a fairytale instead.
Silas Lesnick: Christopher’s character, the school bully, shows up and grabs that book, laughing at Norman and threatening to beat him up for ruining his talking with a girl earlier in the day.
Silas Lesnick: Norman looks at the horizon. The sun is setting.
Silas Lesnick: “Uh-oh,” he says.
Silas Lesnick: “Dang right uh-oh!” says the bully, getting ready to punch him.
Silas Lesnick: A massive green energy force is swelling in the distance. The bully turns and sees it too.
Silas Lesnick: “Uh-oh,” he says.
Silas Lesnick: The green energy shoots towards them and hits the ground. It starts to crack and the gravestones tremble.
Silas Lesnick: The dead begin to claw their way to the surface. We can see that each zombie is unique and from a distinct time period of American history.
Silas Lesnick: One final zombie arrives, screaming at the sky.
Silas Lesnick: That’s the end of clip one, but they’re moving right into Clip 2. Hold on!
Silas Lesnick: Just a quick one — the scene sees Norman and his friends in a car with Norman’s siser (Kendrick) and her boyfriend
Silas Lesnick: (He’s Casey Affleck)
Silas Lesnick: The sister is angry. She says, “I just knew something like this was going to happen tonight.”
Silas Lesnick: To which the boyfriend (who is not too bright) says, “Really? The zombie thing sort of threw me for a loop.”
Silas Lesnick: Little do they realize there’s a zombie on the roof and it reaches in and grabs at them.
Silas Lesnick: Norman mentions having to read at the witch’s grave, but they don’t know where she’s buried.
Silas Lesnick: As they struggle against the zombie, a siren rings out. They police are coming up behind them.
Silas Lesnick: End of scene two!
Silas Lesnick: They’re saying that a big bit of inspiration for the characters was Scooby Doo.
Silas Lesnick: It never made sense, they say, that all those people would be friends so PARANORMAN plays up the arguments between very different types of characters.
Silas Lesnick: In addition to doing the lines, all the actors had to make some strange sounds for their parts.
Silas Lesnick: They’re laughing about some of the weird things they said.
Silas Lesnick: Christopher sings “Season of the Witch” at one point.
Silas Lesnick: Kodi challenged him to sing it now and he said, “If Kodi dances!”
Silas Lesnick: Kodi’s down and just started dancing on stage while Christopher provided a beat.
Silas Lesnick: The floor is opening up to questions from the audience.
Silas Lesnick: A little girl just asked what Laika is working on next, but they say they can’t say.
Silas Lesnick: “Come see me later and I’ll tell you in private,” says Knight but realizes how creepy it sounds and the audience bursts into laughter.
Silas Lesnick: This is something coming, but they can’t say yet.
Silas Lesnick: There’s another little girl — this one dressed as a unicorn.
Silas Lesnick: “Why were the monsters so scary?”
Silas Lesnick: They say that the monsters don’t get scarier than in the scene they showed and that we learn that they’re more sad and silly than scary.
Silas Lesnick: Sam is saying kids who are five or six can probably see it, but it’s up to their parents.
Silas Lesnick: A woman is asking if the actors and directors put anything specific into the film from their own personalities.
Silas Lesnick: “Well, I always wanted to beat the crap out of Kodi.”
Silas Lesnick: Kodi says that the character changed when he can aboard to be skinny. Norman was originally fat, but they changed it when he signed on.
Silas Lesnick: Someone asked Christopher about KICK-ASS 2
Silas Lesnick: “I think we’re hopefully going to start shooting in September.”
Silas Lesnick: The directors are talking about how stop motion is so effective for its limitations
Silas Lesnick: Butler is citing the skeleton scene in “Jason and Argonauts”.
Silas Lesnick: “Once you’ve seen that, why would you want to do zombies any other way?”
Silas Lesnick: The panel looks to be wrapping up
Silas Lesnick: That’s all! Check back soon for our live blog of the WALKING DEAD panel!