As I said in my recent review, “ParaNorman” is an uncommonly beautiful stop-motion film, with some of the best character work I’ve ever seen in this sort of movie. Part of that is because of the advances Laika Studios has made in using laser-printers to sculpt the faces, and part of it is because they really worked with their cast to get something special.
I’ve had several opportunities to interview each of the featured cast members of “ParaNorman,” so it was an incredibly relaxed and comfortable press day. That made it easier to immediately dig into the process that they went through to help bring these characters to life.
Leslie Mann is always fun to interview. She’s always forthcoming and I’ve never seen her be anything less than full energy, no matter what film we’re discussing. I have a feeling we’re going to be having some long conversations soon about “This Is 40,” and I wish I’d had a chance to see the new trailer before this interview just so we could cover that as well. We had plenty to talk about, though, just discussing “ParaNorman.”
Anna Kendrick is so different from the characters that made her famous in “Rocket Science” and “Up In The Air” that it just makes me respect her that much more as an actor every time we talk. She seemed to have a ton of fun playing Courtney, the older sister to Norman, and I would not be surprised to see her work in animation again at some point, provided she can find another script this strong.
Then there’s Norman himself, Kodi Smit-McPhee. I met him for the first time a few years ago at Comic-Con when I moderated the panel about the film “Let Me In,” and at that point, he was very much a kid. He seemed younger in spirit than his co-star Chloe Moretz, and I was expecting that same kid to be the one I interviewed. I forget how much people age when they’re in that transitional phase from about 10 to about 20, and Kodi seems like a whole new person now. He does great work in the film, and they captured him at the moment right before his voice changed, so Norman quite literally no longer exists. Kodi couldn’t do the voice again if he wanted to, and it’s interesting to see how comfortable he’s gotten in just a few years of doing press.
I think you’re going to be surprised in a good way by this film, and I look forward to the conversations afterward.
“ParaNorman” opens this Friday.