ParaNorman Gets More Cast And Great Composer

Zombies, zombies, zombies. This is my third article in two days about a zombie-themed movie and I have to say I’m loving my job right now.

This time, an update for kids animated adventure ParaNorman, the latest offering from LAIKA, the studio behind the Oscar-nominated Coraline.

You may remember last month’s press release, which included the main body of casting announcements with child star Kodi Smit-McPhee as the voice of Norman, a boy with the power to talk to the dead. The latest press release announces that singer-songwriter Jon Brion will write the score for the film, and that the cast will now include Tucker Albrizzi, Jodelle Ferland and Family Guy‘s Alex Borstein. They join the rest of the cast who were announced last month, including Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Bernard Hill, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Elaine Stritch. Here’s the latest information from the press release.

Two-time Grammy Award-nominated composer Jon Brion has signed to create the original score for LAIKA and Focus Features’ animated comedy thriller ParaNorman, currently in production at LAIKA’s Oregon studios for nationwide release by Focus on Friday, August 17th, 2012. Following LAIKA and Focus’ groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated animated feature Coraline, ParaNorman is only the second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.

Joining the voice cast of ParaNorman are Tucker Albrizzi (Good Luck Charlie), Alex Borstein (Family Guy), and Jodelle Ferland (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse). ParaNorman is being directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, from Mr. Butler’s original screenplay. Mr. Fell was director of The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away. Mr. Butler was storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

Mr. Brion’s original score for Focus’ Academy Award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind earned him a Grammy Award nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album, among other honors. He was previously a Grammy nominee in the same category for scoring Magnolia. A highly accomplished singer/songwriter, arranger, and conductor, Mr. Brion is renowned for his production work. He holds co-writing credits on albums by such artists as Kanye West, Beck, Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, the Eels, and Dido.

Mr. Knight said, “Jon Brion is so prodigiously gifted it’s almost unseemly. His virtuoso compositions are at once moody and imaginative, clever and subtle. Jon’s inventive, genre-defying musical storytelling will provide the perfect accompaniment to ParaNorman’s groundbreaking visuals and emotionally resonant narrative.”

Mr. Brion stated, “I’ve been waiting for the right animation project for some time now. This production and the people at LAIKA and Focus have an inspiring amount of heart. One can’t help being swept up in the passion.”

The press release also included all the information that was released last month, with the same short synopsis.

In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, moronic grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

It seems like LAIKA are throwing everything they’ve got at the film, and with such an impressive line-up of talent this is certainly a project to keep an eye on. I do enjoy dark children’s fantasy films, and not because I hate children and enjoy seeing them in horrific and perilous situations. At least, that’s not the only reason. A lot of people like a story that they get their teeth into, but ParaNorman sounds like one that might bite back.