Comic-Con: ParaNorman Panel Live Blog

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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:

10:53
Silas Lesnick: PARANORMAN has started with a look at the previously-released second trailer!

10:53
Silas Lesnick: They’re reminding the audience that today is Friday the 13th.

10:54
Silas Lesnick: Producer and Laika CEO Travis Knight has come onstage along with both directors, Sam Fell and Peter Butler.

10:55
Silas Lesnick: Voice talents Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Platz have joined as well

10:55
Silas Lesnick: Butler is saying that he’s been working on the film on and off for six years.

10:56
Silas Lesnick: He says that the central concept is “John Carpenter meets John Hughes”

10:57
Silas Lesnick: They’re also comparing it a mixture of Amblin and George Romero films

10:57
Silas Lesnick: “Ray Harryhausen on bath salts”

10:58
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.

10:59
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.

11:00
Silas Lesnick: Anna is talking about how freeing it is to voice a role rather than worry about how you look while performing.

11:01
Silas Lesnick: The actors were filmed so that the animators could use them as refrence

11:01
Silas Lesnick: Christopher is saying that his character is like if he was super-fat

11:02
Silas Lesnick: They’re about to show some footage. Hold on….

11:05
Silas Lesnick: It’s a behind-the-scenes featurette showing some really great stop motion photograph of the sets as they’re being prepared.

11:05
Silas Lesnick: As far as the zombies in the film…

11:05
Silas Lesnick: “They shamble. They don’t stroll. They don’t saunter. And they sure as hell don’t run.”

11:06
Silas Lesnick: Knight is talking about how the entire Laika team is a band of outcasts and that’s the focus of the film.

11:06
Silas Lesnick: “We weren’t the captains of the football team. We spent a lot of time getting shoved into lockers.”

11:06
Silas Lesnick: “Now we sit in the dark and play with dolls all day.”

11:07
Silas Lesnick: Some of the most challenging shots in PARANORMAN involve crowd scenes, which are terribly tricky for animators.

11:08
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.”

11:09
Silas Lesnick: All the actors visited Laika studios during the production.

11:10
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.

11:10
Silas Lesnick: First clip coming up! Hold on…

11:14
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.

11:14
Silas Lesnick: He arrives, but realizes that something is wrong. The book is not the right one. It’s a fairytale instead.

11:15
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.

11:15
Silas Lesnick: Norman looks at the horizon. The sun is setting.

11:15
Silas Lesnick: “Uh-oh,” he says.

11:16
Silas Lesnick: “Dang right uh-oh!” says the bully, getting ready to punch him.

11:16
Silas Lesnick: A massive green energy force is swelling in the distance. The bully turns and sees it too.

11:16
Silas Lesnick: “Uh-oh,” he says.

11:16
Silas Lesnick: The green energy shoots towards them and hits the ground. It starts to crack and the gravestones tremble.

11:17
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.

11:17
Silas Lesnick: One final zombie arrives, screaming at the sky.

11:17
Silas Lesnick: That’s the end of clip one, but they’re moving right into Clip 2. Hold on!

11:19
Silas Lesnick: Just a quick one — the scene sees Norman and his friends in a car with Norman’s siser (Kendrick) and her boyfriend

11:20
Silas Lesnick: (He’s Casey Affleck)

11:20
Silas Lesnick: The sister is angry. She says, “I just knew something like this was going to happen tonight.”

11:21
Silas Lesnick: To which the boyfriend (who is not too bright) says, “Really? The zombie thing sort of threw me for a loop.”

11:21
Silas Lesnick: Little do they realize there’s a zombie on the roof and it reaches in and grabs at them.

11:21
Silas Lesnick: Norman mentions having to read at the witch’s grave, but they don’t know where she’s buried.

11:22
Silas Lesnick: As they struggle against the zombie, a siren rings out. They police are coming up behind them.

11:22
Silas Lesnick: End of scene two!

11:22
Silas Lesnick: They’re saying that a big bit of inspiration for the characters was Scooby Doo.

11:22
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.

11:23
Silas Lesnick: In addition to doing the lines, all the actors had to make some strange sounds for their parts.

11:23
Silas Lesnick: They’re laughing about some of the weird things they said.

11:24
Silas Lesnick: Christopher sings “Season of the Witch” at one point.

11:24
Silas Lesnick: Kodi challenged him to sing it now and he said, “If Kodi dances!”

11:25
Silas Lesnick: Kodi’s down and just started dancing on stage while Christopher provided a beat.

11:26
Silas Lesnick: The floor is opening up to questions from the audience.

11:27
Silas Lesnick: A little girl just asked what Laika is working on next, but they say they can’t say.

11:27
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.

11:27
Silas Lesnick: This is something coming, but they can’t say yet.

11:28
Silas Lesnick: There’s another little girl — this one dressed as a unicorn.

11:28
Silas Lesnick: “Why were the monsters so scary?”

11:29
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.

11:29
Silas Lesnick: Sam is saying kids who are five or six can probably see it, but it’s up to their parents.

11:31
Silas Lesnick: A woman is asking if the actors and directors put anything specific into the film from their own personalities.

11:31
Silas Lesnick: “Well, I always wanted to beat the crap out of Kodi.”

11:32
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.

11:35
Silas Lesnick: Someone asked Christopher about KICK-ASS 2

11:35
Silas Lesnick: “I think we’re hopefully going to start shooting in September.”

11:39
Silas Lesnick: The directors are talking about how stop motion is so effective for its limitations

11:39
Silas Lesnick: Butler is citing the skeleton scene in “Jason and Argonauts”.

11:39
Silas Lesnick: “Once you’ve seen that, why would you want to do zombies any other way?”

11:41
Silas Lesnick: The panel looks to be wrapping up

11:42
Silas Lesnick: That’s all! Check back soon for our live blog of the WALKING DEAD panel!

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