In an interesting bit of synergy, the ParaNorman panel was held on Friday the 13th to a packed Hall H. After playing the trailer moderator, Dave Karger from Entertainment Weekly introduced the panelists including Anna Kendrick, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler (who also wrote the movie) and Executive Producer Travis Knight. Karger opened up with a few questions to the cast and crew about the creation of the film and the process of voice acting. The filmmakers spoke about how they aimed to make a John Hughes/80s adventure/George A. Romero zombie film genre mash up. Anna Kendrick quipped that voice acting is very pure because you cannot worry about how you look and a grown up Kodi Smit-Mcphee remarked that halfway through filming his voice started to drop, providing him no way of proving that he voiced the character. Fell then introduced a behind the scenes feature that showed off the process of animation (in super speed) with preview clips of some of the big set pieces. More preview video analysis and Q&A hilarity after the jump!
The panel then showed two clips, both with very crisp impressive animation. The first clip showed Norman and the school bully Alvin in a grave yard when the zombies come out of the ground. The second clip was the start of the big van chase sequence with Casey Affleck’s
dumb mentally immature jock Mitch making an appearance. All of the sequences looked to really push the boundaries of what you can do with stop motion animation. It will be interesting to see how the big crowd vs. zombies scenes or the chase scenes will look in 3D, but given the quality of the preview clips they should be fine.
Then it was time for the Q&A, which proved alternately awkward and hilarious. Producer Travis Knight’s comments about meeting a little girl in private and stop motion animation being the red-headed step child were taken hilariously out of context by the crowd, but he proved to be a good sport. Directors Fell and Butler likened the film to being Breakfast Club meets The Fog. Anna Kendrick mentioned that she thought she got the job off of Twilight (because she plays a bratty teen), but the directors said the cast her based on her voice. She also bemoaned the fact that she probably should have talked to George Clooney about acting in an animated film. Kodi Smit-Mcphee proved the star of the panel with his embarrassment at the directors giving him a shake weight to simulate shaking and he ended up doing a little dancing for the crowd. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also let everyone know that Kick-Ass 2 was going to start filming in September.
ParaNorman hits theaters on August 17.