Q. What was it about Coraline that made you want to be in it?
What first came to me was the combination of Henry Selick and the script. That was enough in itself.
Q. Why do you think Henry Selick chose you?
I don’t know why he chose me; I must have been really lucky. And I don’t even want to know the list of names he had for that role, because I am sure there were many more important than mine. So, I don’t know how I ended up getting it, but I am just grateful that I did!
Q. Were you attracted by the idea of doing a triple character?
Yes, that was so interesting to me. I thought it was a great opportunity to do that much on my first animated movie.
Q. How do you see Coraline’s “real mother”?
I see her first as overworked, maybe a tiny bit distant, and just exhausted and frustrated, probably not the most nurturing, loving mother in the world. It was hard for me to understand her because I am a very nurturing, hugging and loving mother. So, taking those qualities away from her was work for me, as it is such a departure from who I am in real life.
Q. Who is the “other mother”?
She is lighter and just wants everything to be perfect. And rather than being vacuously perfect, I tried to make her come from this place of wanting to be loved, but with a reason –which ultimately I think she has.
Q. And then she turns evil.
That’s because she doesn’t get what she wants, which is when she realizes that her performance wasn’t good enough. Then she gets really mad and becomes an explosive monster.
Q. What significance do you see in the buttons instead of eyes that the characters -including yours- have in that “other world”?
I think of those buttons as things that are closing you off and trapping you, really.
Q. How was the experience of working on your first animation movie?
It was fun to focus all my attention into my voice, and I feel blown away by the experience. But, as I didn’t know what it was going to look like, I was very excited when I saw the trailer for the first time with my daughter in a theatre.
Q. Then, what did you think of the film when you saw it completed?
I couldn’t get over how good it was. It’s so well done that it feels like an art-piece you want to hang on your wall. And when you think of the craftsmanship that goes into it…
Q. How was the shoot like for you?
The hardest thing about it was working intermittently over the course of time, I would forget things like the differences between the “mothers.” And we couldn’t do the “scary mother” until the end of a session because after it my voice would be gone for two days –I would blow it out! But Henry was always there next to me.
Q. What is Henry like as a director?
First of all, he makes you feel safe, because he is very kind and never panics. And he is always willing to try new things, without judgment. Henry is quiet, imaginative and just lovely!
Q. How would you describe this movie?
I guess I would say it is an amazing visual 3-D experience with a story that reminds me of an updated Hansel and Gretel, but this is much deeper because it is about a family whose members are neglectful with each other. Then the child gets lost and lured into something that she thinks is going to be better, but is trapped there and has to get back. So, it is a family story.
Q. Is it easy to believe the grass is always greener on the other side?
I think that is very much the way we all go through life, but it’s a mistake. And, hopefully, the older you get the more you learn to not look at life that way, because it is not helpful.
Q. What solution do you propose to avoid that mistake?
I think we should focus on spending our energy on what we really do have and, if you don’t like what’s in front of you, fix it! It’s like staying in a marriage or a friendship that is not good. Be proactive! Because to think about what you don’t have is not going to do anything for you. So, either change what you have or accept it and learn to live with it.
Q. Another lesson that can be learned from Coraline is precisely to accept others with their defects, as we are not perfect either.
Exactly, and I believe Coraline learns to love her parents with their imperfections.
Q. What did you think of the look of the film?
I felt it was the first 3-D movie that, rather than having things just dart at you, seemed to gain depth and almost went away from you to the point of making you a part of it. It is truly an amazing accomplishment! And, if you are not a 3-D fan, I believe this is the film to get on that boat with, because it is such a ride.
Q. There seems no end to Henry Selick’s creativity.
The movie is unpredictable and sort of a modern day Alice in Wonderland, but multiplied by a hundred. The details are just beautiful!
Q. What did you think of Dakota Fanning’s performance as Coraline?
She was great. Dakota is a tremendous actress and I was honored to get to be her mother.
Q. And your daughter Emerson is in the movie too!
She has a couple of lines as a dragonfly, and it is so cool! She doesn’t want to be an actress; so, it is not a big deal, but just something that is really sweet. It was special for her and for us as a family, because she loved the movie from the first storyboard she saw. And she respects Henry immensely and all the artistry that went behind the film.
Q. What do you think both kids and adults will see in Coraline?
I hope they both love it. I think the movie has a lot of depth, and layers of subtleties and complications that will appeal to everyone and truly make it a family film. [Source]