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Look out for more coverage of
Coraline in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Coraline

THE STARS:
Dakota Fanning • Teri Hatcher • Jennifer Saunders • Dawn French • Ian McShane • John Hodgman
DIRECTOR: Henry Selick

THE CONCEPT:
Coraline (Fanning) is a feisty 11-year-old who has just relocated with her parents (Hatcher, Hodgman) to Oregon. Lonely and ignored by her busy parents, Coraline discovers a secret door in the house which takes her to an alternate version of her life where the adults, including her Other Mother (Hatcher) welcome her. But when the Other Mother schemes to keep her there, Coraline must muster all her resourcefulness and bravery to get back home and save her real family.

U.S. RELEASE: February 6 2009, Nationwide • Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

NEIL GAIMAN (author):
“[The idea] for Coraline began about 1989, 1990. My daughter Holly would come home from kindergarten, she was about 5 years old, and she would climb on my lap, because I would be in my office writing, and she would dictate stories and they were terrifying. They’d be about little girls coming home and finding out the evil witches were now impersonating their mothers. Normally the girls would then get locked in cellars and they would have to escape and try and find their real mother with the witches coming after them. I thought I’d go and find her some stories like that to read to her, and nobody seemed to be writing any, so I thought I’d write her one. I started writing Coraline, which was a name that I took from a typo. I’d been writing a letter to a friend called Caroline and I transposed. I went, ‘Coraline, I like that.’”

HENRY SELICK:
Henry Selick “When I first read the manuscript, I was struck by the juxtaposition of worlds; the one we all live in, and the one where the grass is always greener. This is something that everyone can relate to. Like Stephen King, Neil sets fantasy in modern times, in our own lives. He splits open ordinary existence and finds magic.”

DAKOTA FANNING on doing the voice for Coraline:
Dakota Fanning“It’s so hard, because look at me right now, I’m using my body and my hands to describe what I’m trying to say, and you don’t have any of that. You have to solely rely on your voice to get across the emotions that you’re feeling. I think that’s the biggest challenge that you take on when you do an animated movie. They did videotape me while I was doing it , and even my mom was like, ‘It looks just like you when you talk.’ Even people who don’t know me think that Coraline looks just like me, so they obviously did a great job.”

TERI HATCHER on playing both the Mother and the Other Mother:
Teri Hatcher“There are actually three characters, the real mother, the other mother and the evil mother. This is my first animated movie, I’ve always wanted to be in one, but I never dreamed that I would be in this level of artistry. I’ve always been a huge fan of Henry’s and Neil Gaiman’s. And on top of it all, I got to play these three different levels of people. Interestingly enough, I think when you go in to do your first animated movie, you imagine you’re going to pull out every accent you’ve ever worked on as a child. But Henry really wanted the voices behind the beautiful, imaginative [animation] to be seamlessly real, even to the point where you didn’t go, ‘Oh, I hear Dakota Fanning,’ or, ‘I hear Teri Hatcher.’ So it ended up being similar to what I would do with any acting job.”

SELICK:
“Coraline is very appealing to me, and I hope that she will be very appealing to children seeing the movie for a variety of reasons. She’s brave and imaginative and has got an overwhelming curiosity; if she sees something interesting, then she has to know about it. I loved that her ‘grass is always greener’ scenario turns out to be scary. When Coraline, an ordinary girl, faces real evil and triumphs, it really means something, as Neil has said.”

GAIMAN on the movie being in 3-D:
“The 3-D part came in because Henry had been talking for years to me about ways that he wanted to try and distinguish the other world from the regular world, and I got worried at the point where he kept talking initially about CGI. He said, ‘We’ll do half of it stop-motion and half of it in CGI.’ And I was like, ‘Oh God, no, don’t do that.’ Henry and 3-D go back an incredibly long way, I don’t know at what point Henry decided that actually 3-D was the way to go, but he did brilliant things.”

FANNING:
“Even though my parents haven’t been like Coraline’s parents, I think you always have those moments where you feel like you need some attention. Especially since I’m an older sibling, so there were moments when I was little where I was like, ‘You need to focus on me right now.’ You always have those moments, especially when you’re growing up and becoming the older one that should be the responsible one and you still want to be the little girl in your parents’ eyes. I think that’s what Coraline’s dealing with. Not that her parents are mean to her or don’t have time for her, they’re just trusting her to be able to entertain herself as she’s growing up.”

HATCHER on playing the evil mom:
Other Mother & Coraline“They needed me to see the movie before I started doing press for it, so I invited some of my daughter Emerson’s friends and their parents. I’m very much known as Camp Hatcher, they come to my house and build forts and bake cookies and do paintings, the sky’s the limit in imagination. And right after the movie was over, one of the kids said, ‘Well, no more sleepovers at Hatcher’s house.’ That kid has a future in comedy!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Coraline site
Images above © Focus Features
Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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