Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Travis Knight, Chris Butler, and Sam Fell discuss making their new stop-motion-animated comedy thriller ParaNorman, made in 3D, at Comic-Con at 10:45am Pacific and we are live blogging the event.
Never-before-seen footage will be shown from the Laika movie that Focus Features is opening nationwide on August 17th. Head inside and settle in, we’re dishing you the highlights from this panel.
In the film, 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, moronic 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!