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Movie Mom

ParaNorman: Kodi Smit-McPhee

posted by Nell Minow

Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Road,” “Let Me In”) provides the voice for Norman, the kid who can see ghosts, in the new stop-motion animated film “ParaNorman.” At Comic-Con, he sat behind a figure of his character from the movie.  One of the biggest challenges for the film-makers was puberty — Kodi’s voice changed while they were making the movie.  “We just had to record as much as we could, all the grunts and stuff, and by the last session, the Norman voice was gone.  It’s stuck with that character forever.”

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I asked him which of the props from the movie he would like to have in real life.  “The car,” he said.  “They are so cool because everything they made in that world, the Norman world, there are no straight lines.  It’s all off.  Even when he takes off the mask, the eyes, there’s one big and one small.  It’s all very weird and different.”  He visited the set and said it was “mind-blowing,” a warehouse with people working on 50 scenes being shot, with almost imperceptibly tiny movements between each shot, while he was “chilling in the studio.”  “You have to get your emotions out through your voice,” he said.  “So you do crazier things while recording than you would on set.  You don’t worry about what your face looks like.  And they have a camera on you all the time so they can take your facial expression back to the character.”  He especially appreciated the chance to do recording sessions with the other actors, which does not happen on many animated films.

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