Comic Con 2012: The ParaNorman Panel with Anna Kendrick & McLovin!
I'm a big fan of CORALINE. I'm passionate about my animated films. I like zombies. This film night have been made for me. PARANORMAN has a pretty big presence at the con this year and it seems legit, What I mean to say is... it fits all the qualifications. There are some movie here that just feel like they didn't want to be left out of all the fun. P-Norm (we're tight) looks and feels like a film made for Comic Con fans. If I'm wrong, I'll blame the booze. Producer and lead animator, Travis Knight, Sam Fell, Chris Butler (directors), Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Anna Kendrick, and Christopher Mintz Plasse all take the stage and start the Friday festivities in Hall H. Let's see if they pulled it off.
- When asked how long the film has been in the making, Chris Butler immediately answered 16 years (on and off). He admitted later that, realistically, it's been 3 years of hard work to get the film finished. And it was only made because he wanted to make a zombie movie for kids.
- There were approximately 44 80's pop culture references during the panel when discussing their motivation for the film. These included GOONIES, GHOSTBUSTERS, John Carpenter meets John Hughes, POLTERGEIST, GREMLINS, Spielberg adventures in general, and THE BREAKFAST CLUB meets THE FOG. We got it.
- When describing the stop motion animated process for this film, Travis Knight says it's Ray Harryhausen on bath salts. This made me blurt out laughing. People looked at me.
- Smit-Mcphee loved using the American accent, however, his voice (balls) dropped during production and he can't even do the Norman voice any more. There are people that don't believe it's him in the movie. I think he was sitting in row 39. 569th from the left.
- This was Anna Kendrick's first animated movie. She was really nervous but found it very liberating to not have to look perfect for the camera. She then added that she looked like a tool while recording her voice-overs. What she forgot to mention was that she has no upper-lip and that it's awkward for everybody involved. If she did mention that, I missed it.
- Clip: The first video shown was a ton of behind the scenes of the stop motion animation. Some of the shit that stood out was the stop motion tornado, and the amount of times they had to move the zombies while walking. They stayed true to the slow, stumbling zombie which made every scene they're in very difficult to shoot.
- The filmmakers encouraged people that want to get into stop motion, adding that they had to be crafty passionate, download free stop frame software, and kind of a loser. Half of the audience whipped out their laptop at this time and Google "stop frame software". The other half didn't think they were losers.
- Getting even more specific about the stop motion process, the directors discussed what it takes to film stop motion crowd scenes, overlapping dialogue, and how they feel they broke a lot of barriers in their methods. New technology allowed them to add some very subtle characteristics. They declare the film a step further than CORALINE in that they tried breaking every stop motion rule in existence. One of those being fat characters.
- The cast had a chance to visit Laika Studios and couldn't believe the patience involved with making the film. it seemed like they were shooting 50 scenes at once and very grateful to see humans when they arrived. Anna Kendrick took picture of herself on set as Godzilla. I included this whole paragraph to tell you about that last part. It's awesome.
- Clip 2: This scene features Norman finding out that it's his duty to stop the zombies by reading a passage from a book in a spooky graveyard. Then the fat bully kid shows up and ruins everything. Some evil spirits show up and raise the dead all around them. The whole scene was animated by Travis and took a year of his life.
- One thing the filmmakers were very anal about was being very particular about the zombies. They all had to be different - One missing a left arm, one missing a right leg. One shuffles, one hobbles. No two zombies are alike. It's in the handbook.
- Clip 3" After the graveyard scene, Alvin (fat bully) and Norman get picked up by Norman's sister (Kendrick) and, whom I think is, her boyfriend (Casey Affleck). Unknown to them a zombie has attached itself to the van and starts wreaking havoc as the are getting pulled over by a bike-cop (Tempestt Bledsoe). They add that the scene has a Scooby -Doo vibe on purpose because they never really understood while Mystery Inc hung around together. They always imagined they would hate one another and bicker all the time. End scene.
- After the scene Christopher Mintz Plasse immediately makes fun of Kodi's cute voice in the movie.
- This somehow leads to Christopher busting out some Eminem rhymes while Kodi dances on stage. It's oddly awesome.
- In, by far, the funniest moment of the panel, a little girl asks what the next Laika project is and is told it's a secret. Then Knight says "come see me later and I'll tell you". The little girl, no more than 7, starts walking up to the stage with nobody stopping her. Knight freaks out and starts telling security to not let her up, that he was just joking, and asking the crowd to stop cheering. After the debacle he says they will announce their next film in the next few months.
- Another little girl asks why the monsters are so scary. Anna almost starts crying. They're more sad than scary says somebody with a microphone. Kids are getting shit on left and right.
- The directors proclaim they have never seen Twilight and that they picked Anna by listening to her voice during interviews. People cheered for this
- The film has the same casting director as 'Freaks and Geeks'. Convenient since the directors looked to the show as inspiration for the awkward physical performances.
- When asked by a fan, Mintz Plasse says KICK ASS 2 is "really close to happening". And that they might start shooting in September.
- Norman's hair is made of dyed goat hair. They end the panel by telling everybody "All you need is a goat and a camera to make a film like this". Good advice.