Episode 2 – Coraline (Kassidy’s Nerd Box)

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Kassidy delves into her nerd box to talk about the history of Riverdale and Archie Comics and shares some interesting facts about the show.

Transcript of the “Brief History” section of the podcast.

The history of the stop motion animated film, Coraline, starts 20 years before the movie hit the cinemas. Way back in 1989 when Neil Gaiman was 29 and his first daughter was 4 years old. Her name was Holly. She would go off to kindergarten and come back to see her dad writing. Holly would climb up on her dad’s lap and dictate stories to him that Neil Gaiman would type out for her. They were all about young girls, like Holly, who would normally have witches pretending to be their mothers and the kids would have to escape from them.

Neil thought to himself, “This is so cool, she loves stories like this, I know; I’ll buy her some.” So Neil went to the bookshop to find really good scary books for four year olds. Alas, he failed. Such a book did not exist. So Neil Gaiman did what any good writer would do and wrote it himself.

10 years later the book was finished. It was never meant to take 10 years. Life got in the way. The book got abandoned. Holly got older. By now Holly was too old for the book but Neil’s second daughter, Maddie, was not. Neil decided he had to get the book done before she was too old. He finished it when Maddie was 6.

After the first draft of the book was complete Neil sent it to his film agent, John Leven, and said, “John, there are only two people who I would ever want touching this. One would be Tim Burton, and the other would be Henry Selick.”

Henry Selick had already directed Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas (in fact Tim Burton had little to do with the movie) and Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

Neil never heard back from Tim Burton but a week later Henry Selick called up Neil and said, “I’ve read Coraline, I want to make it a movie.”

That was in 2001. It took Selick 7 years to make his movie. The film was released on the 8th May 2009.

diy-coraline-wybie-halloween-costume-idea

Facts from the podcast.

1

At the beginning of the film the two movers, unloading the lorry with all their belongings, were caricatures of Jerome and Joe Ranft. Jerome was a sculptor for Pixar and Joe was a story man. I’ll list some of credits in a minute but Joe sadly died at the age of 45 while directing Cars for Pixar. Ironically he died in a car accident. As homage to Raft, who Henry Selick called “the story giant of our generation”, the removals van had a logo on the side which read, “Raft Moving Inc.” Both caricatures of Joe and Jerome Raft were voiced by Jerome. A little add-on to this fact; the money used to pay the moving men had a picture of Henry Selick on it, instead of an American president. Selick worked with Joe on The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach,  and Monkeybone.

Just to give an idea of why Raft was so important here is a short filmography. (This part wasn’t in the podcast).

He was a story artist on Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Beauty and the Beast; he did the story and provided several cartoon screams.

Aladdin (dad’s favourite animated film); story and more cartoon screams.

The Nightmare before Christmas; Storyboard Supervisor and the voice of Igor.

The Lion King; story.

Toy Story; story and voice of Lenny the Binoculars.

A Bug’s Life; story and voice of Hemlich.

Toy Story 2; story and voice of Wheezy.

Monsters Inc; voice of Pete “Claws” Ward.

Finding Nemo; voice of Jacques the Shrimp.

Cars; Co-Director and voice of Red and Peterbilt.

And many more things that would take too long to list.

 

2

 

The Cherry Blossom was made of popcorn.

 

3

 

The layout of the house, in the book at least, was based on Neil Gaiman’s actual home at the time.

 

4

 

The production made 500 dogs to populate the theatre in Spink and Forcible’s Other Flat.

 

5

 

5 miles of gold thread for a 5-inch wig. (Miss Forcible).

 

6

 

They used a record breaking 130 sets across 52 stages to record different scenes at the same time, over 183,000 square feet.

 

7

 

Wybie is not in the book. This means no nan, which means no doll.

 

8

 

It was the first animated film to use stereoscopic 3D. Which means that each frame of animation was photographed twice. Once for the left eye and once for the right.

 

9

 

Coraline is left handed.

 

10

 

Coraline is a spelling mistake. Neil accidentally spelled the name wrong but liked it so kept it that way.

 

11

 

And finally, in the scene where the other Father sings a song at the piano he is wearing Monkeybone slippers. Monkeybone is the film Henry Selick made after Coraline.

 

***

 

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Follow us on Twitter – https://twitter.com/KassidysNerdBox

 

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