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 release across the United States by Focus on August 17, 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 Tuesday.
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 Butler’s original screenplay. Fell was director of The Tale Of Despereaux and Flushed Away. Butler was storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
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, 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 Eel, and Dido.
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.”
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.”
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.
The voice cast includes Academy Award nominee Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show), Jeff Garlin (Toy Story 3), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.), Bernard Hill (Titanic), Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Leslie Mann (Rio), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (How To Train Your Dragon), and Tony and Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch (30 Rock).
Arianne Sutner, animation producer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Travis Knight are producing ParaNorman. Academy Award winner Brian Van’t Hul (King Kong, Coraline) is the movie’s visual effects supervisor; Emmy Award winner Nelson Lowry (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride) is its production designer; and Tristan Oliver (Fantastic Mr. Fox, the Academy Award-winning Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit) is the director of photography on ParaNorman.
As on Coraline, Focus holds worldwide distribution rights to ParaNorman, and Universal Pictures International will release it overseas. Coraline is Focus’ second-highest-grossing movie of all time, with over $75 million domestically. The picture earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film, and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute with an AFI Award.