Comic-Con loves animated films and has been welcoming the latest and greatest with open arms for years. But yesterday they introduced an upcoming movie that’s certainly got people’s attention. That movie is “ParaNorman.”
There’s plenty of people who are big fans of the animation studio Laika after they churned out “Coraline.” They hope to win over the crowd again with their new sweet and supernatural stop-motion animated movie. The story centers on Norman, an everyday boy with an extraordinary gift: he can see ghosts. He’s an outcast, bullied by some of his classmates and tries his best to hide in the background until an evil curse unleashes throughout the city. Now it’s up to Norman to save the town.
One of the actors we got the chance to talk to was Anna Kendrick who voices Norman’s older sister Courtney. During the interview she goes off about the differences between Courtney and her character in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” along with what it was like being a voice actor for the first time.
What can you say about your character? I’ve heard her been described as not the nicest person.
Anna Kendrick: Yeah, she’s kind of typical obnoxious older sister. She’s really embarrassed by her brother even though her brother is extraordinary. She thinks he’s annoying and just wants him to be normal and do normal things.
Does this role have any parallels to the role you had in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”?
Anna Kendrick: No. I mean Stacey was sort of practical and wanted to give her brother advice. Her brother was actually being an idiot and was giving him very real advice. In this she sort of doesn’t have Norman’s best interest at heart. She’s sort of a selfish cheerleader type and there’s a lot more love coming from Stacey. I mean there’s a lot of love coming from Courtney but not so much at first.
What’s it like doing voice acting?
Anna Kendrick: I’ve always wanted to do an animated film so I just jumped at the opportunity. I was really nervous because I’m not great at ADR so I wasn’t sure how this was going to be. It was actually really, really freeing because in ADR you’re watching your own movie and you’re trying to watch it and say your line. In this it was like you just felt this was a really safe space and it was okay to make really ugly faces and really ugly body gestures. To have all of that, to use all of those things as tools were really helpful. To not be self-conscious about the way you look on camera really helped that intentionally just to be really pure.
Do you see yourself in the character when she’s animated? Do you see some of your movements in her?
Anna Kendrick: Yeah, some things certainly. I would always kind of bend at my waist and decide like I was really tired. Like I was so world-weary that I couldn’t hold my own body up which is a very teenage girl thing. I think Courtney does that.
Is the direction different when you’re part of a live-action film compared to an animated one?
Anna Kendrick: The direction depends on the director I guess, but the difference for me is that I get to hear what you want and do it immediately. You tell me what I want and the second my brain processes it I just say it and try it. The five seconds that it takes for them to shut everything down and say “Whenever you’re ready,” that’s the only time that that intention still lives in your body. When a director on a film set says it to you you’ve got to sit there and stew with it for five minutes, seven minutes as they’re changing the light. You can’t just call cut and go again. It’s always like they’re ten adjustments that need to be made. They need to reset the camera and in that time you can get so deep in your own head that you could forget the original intention you had.
Did you get to record with anyone else or were you always by yourself?
Anna Kendrick: I got to record my first day with Casey Affleck. He’d never done it before either so we were both really new to it. It was a great way to start out especially because by the end of the day we were getting more and more comfortable and it became a little competitive to see who was willing to embarrass themselves more.
Anna Kendrick: Probably Casey.
Were there any improv moments when you were working on this?
Anna Kendrick: Yeah. That was the other great thing about having Casey there, because my character has a crush on him in the film and we got to do a lot of stuff. The directors were so open to improv because, according to them, the process is so slow and so precise that those moments of spontaneity are so important. Anything you can do to keep that process spontaneous, it helps them later.
Be sure to check out “ParaNorman” when it’s out in theaters everywhere on August 17th.