11:41 – Dave thanks everyone, cheers erupt – “ParaNorman” is out next month!
11:40 – Dave wraps with a question from the Twitter page. Sam says Norman was the most challenging character to create. Chris adds, “Writing him was easier,” because a lot was based on him. He gets an “aw” from the audience when he says he was a sad child. Chris also points out he loved channeling his inner 15 year old cheerleader and writing Courtney’s dialogue.
11:37 – Chris says he liked the limitations of stop motion because you have to really know what you’re trying to achieve with it. One of the first reasons he started writing this was the skeleton scene in Jason and the Argonauts.
11:36 – Why go with stop motion animation? “Stop motion has never been the dominant form of animation.” Travis calls it “the red headed step child of animation.” He notes it has a beauty, charm, warmth and soulful quality because you can see the people making all of the pieces. Sam adds, “Doing it in 3D, you want to reach in and touch it even more.”
11:35 – The obligatory “Kick-Ass 2″ question for Chris gets this response: “It’s looking really close that it’s gonna happen. I think we’re gonna hopefully start shooting in September. The word’s out, you heard it from me first and I’m gonna get my butt kick.”
11:34 – “We looked at ‘Freaks and Geeks’ for the physical performance the kids did,” noted Chris.
11:32 – How do you decide which actors to chose? Sam says, “It’s so much about the voice.” They were going for big name comic performances. Yet another accidental insult. They brush this off quickly. Sam continues saying he needed actors with range.
11:30 – Next question – did you put a part of yourself into your character? Chris jokes, “I’ve always wanted to beat the carp out of Kodi.” Kodi says, “being skinny.” Anna tries to get serious and says that she recalls thinking she got this job because of “Twilight,” but when she went in she was told they hadn’t even seen those movies, “We heard your voice in interviews.”
11:29 – Chris jokes to the next fan, “Top that one dude.”
11:28 – A little girl dressed as a unicorn asks why the monsters were so scary. The panel and audience are eating this up! The panel assures her the characters are “more silly than scary.” Sam says the film is appropriate for 7, 8 and above.
11:26 – An absolutely adorable little girl asks the first fan question. She wonders what the next animated project is and Knight says he can’t tell her, but throws in an incredibly inappropriate, meet me later and I’ll tell you. It was totally harmless, but the audience picked up on oops and buries Travis for it. Everyone gets a laugh.
11:24 – Anna mimics Courtney’s sound and talks about the screaming. She recalls, “By the end of the day we were competitive.” She’d have screaming matches with Casey. Kodi remembers doing the scene when Norman is on the toilet and has to make a shaking noise. He sat in a shaking chair, but the chair made noise so he had to fake it himself. Anna says he should have used a Shake Weight.
11:22 – Question for the voice cast, what’s the one sound that epitomizes your character? Chris says the directors loved it when he went really high pitched. He also did some “Season of the Witch” singing. Chris jokes, “If Kodi dances I’ll sing it.” Oh wait, not a joke they do it. Kodi’s a pretty good dancer. Can’t say the same for Chris’ Slim Shady impression.
11:18 – We’ve got another clip! A little after that scene we just watched, this scene involves a gang of kids fleeing the zombies in a big van chase. Norman, Alvin as well as Anna’s character Courtney, Mitch (Casey Affleck) and Norman’s little buddy zip down the road in a van, Norman and Courtney arguing about the current situation. A zombie hand bashing through the ceiling of a van and Courtney gives in, asking Norman what they have to do to stop the zombies. He explains they need to read from the book from the witch’s grave, but the grave wasn’t at the graveyard from the previous clips so they have to find it. The clip cuts short and the entire audience lets out an “aw.”
11:17 – Chris remembers working on the scene they just showed and really getting into character with his body language.
11:16 – When they first went into the recording sessions, Kodi had only seen little cut outs of Norman, but half way through he finally got to see a scene.
11:10 – We’ve got a clip! It starts with Norman stumbling into a certain graveyard with this book that he has to read from in order to stop the zombie curse. However, before he can finishing reading what he surprisingly dubs “a fairytale,” Alvin foils everything, taunting Norman. In the midst of their argument, a beautiful pink, blue and orange sky is consumed by a green cloud that eventually slams into the ground right below Norman and Alvin’s feet. The green substance summons a slew of zombies of all sorts of shapes and sizes that pop up through the ground below Norman and Alvin culminating with an older looking zombie that seems to be a lead of sorts.
11:08 – Kodi was most impressed with the patience of stop motion animators. Chris jokes, “I think they were all grateful to see us. ‘There are humans out there!’” Anna says one of her favorite pictures on her phone right now is of the character Neil’s locker because he’s got this little sign about his deceased dog. “There’s stuff like that all over the set.” She says she got to take photos of all the sets after they wrapped.
11:06 – Of stop motion, Sam says they wanted the detail to be defined and the new technology of printing faces allowed them to do subtle acting. Chris says they wanted to go bigger than “Coraline.” Apparently fat necks are a no-no in stop motion.
11:05 – “Stop motion animators are strange people,” Travis notes. However, for people who are crafty and good with their hands, those are the kind of people that would fit in the industry.
11:02 – Footage time! It opens with a montage of creepy visuals and then heads into a featurette-type piece consisting of footage and interviews. The Friday the 13th mask gag gets another laugh. The piece connects the misfit characters to the people who made the film through a bit of a gag reel of folks dressed oddly and doing strange things behind the scenes. We see “zombies shamble,” a super natural tornado, mob scenes, storms, explosions – “it’s like a big action movie.” Norman announced “the dead are coming” in what looks like a school Thanksgiving pagent.
11:01 – For Chris, Dave points out his role is against type. “He’s like the fat version of me,” Chris says.
11:00 – Turning to Anna, this is her first animated film. “I was really nervous actually.” She admits she’s not great with ADR, but calls the experience liberating and pure to be able to use your body and not be embarrassed. She says, “I look like a pretty big tool.” She says there was a lot of “hand stuff.” She gets up to demonstrate “knee acting.”
10:59 – Kodi talks about his casting. “I love animation so much and I love the fact that I can put on an American accent, trick some people.” He loves how the movie will preserve his childhood voice.
10:58 – Travis says, “It became a gumbo of our collective childhood loves and obsessions.” He continues, “I think when you see it, you’ll be able to pick out all of those influences.”
10:57 – Chris says the idea came from films like “Goonies” and “Ghost Busters” as well as some horror films, but the idea originally was to be John Carpenter meets John Hughs.
10:55 – To start, Dave turns to Chris. How long in the making is this movie? Chris says, “about 16 years,” but points out that it was on and off, otherwise, “that’d be sad.”
10:53 – Another odd switch, Jeff brings back our actual modertor, Dave, who brings up Travis, Sam, Chris, Kodi, Anna and Chris MP.
10:51 – Lights are back on and Dave introduces panel moderator Jeff Walker who loads up another trailer – oops – we already did that. Awkward.
10:49 – Visuals still look great, but 3D doesn’t have the same effect in such a large room.
10:47 – Here we go! Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly takes the stage and introduces a little clip showing off the RealD technology followed by a 3D presentation of the “ParaNorman” trailer.
Hello from Hall H! I’ve got my granola bars, a bottle of water, some Lifesavers and, most importantly, a seat, so we’re all set for a full day of coverage of some of the hottest TV and film properties San Diego Comic Con has to offer.
We’re kicking things off with the “ParaNorman” panel where stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Anna Kendrick are due to take the stage alongside writer-director Chris Butler, director Sam Fell and producer Travis Knight to discuss the Focus Features stop motion animated comedy thriller.