LAIKA's Paranorman Gets Composer, More Cast Members

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 nationwide release by Focus on Friday, August 17th, 2012.

Press Release from LAIKA

NEW YORK and PORTLAND, OR, June 14th, 2011 – 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 nationwide release by Focus on Friday, August 17th, 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 today.

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 Mr. Butler’s original screenplay. Mr. Fell was director of The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away. Mr. Butler was storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

Mr. 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, Mr. 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 Eels, and Dido.

Mr. 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.”

Mr. 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.

In addition to those actors previously mentioned, 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 in 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 (AFI) with an AFI Award.

About LAIKAFueled by the vision of its owner, NIKE Co-Founder and Chairman Phil Knight and its President and CEO Travis Knight, LAIKA Inc. is an animation company specializing in feature films and commercials. LAIKA, located in Portland, Oregon, has a 30-year history of presenting the artistry of award-winning filmmakers, designers, and animators in the field of animated entertainment and commercials. LAIKA’s first feature, Coraline, was released by Focus Features in February 2009 and was the first stop-motion animated feature to be conceived and photographed in stereoscopic 3D. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Outstanding Animated Feature, and won the prestigious Cristal Award at the Annecy International Animation Festival. LAIKA/house is a world-renowned commercial animation studio acclaimed for its skill in storytelling and character performance in a variety of animation media, including 2D, CG, and stop-motion. Its work has garnered the attention of top advertising agencies and has attracted clients such as Starbucks, Apple, Coca-Cola, ESPN, M&Ms, and Planters. For more information about LAIKA, please visit www.laika.com.

About Focus FeaturesFocus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

In addition to ParaNorman, current and upcoming Focus releases include Mike Mills’ comedy/drama Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer; Lone Scherfig’s romance One Day, based on the bestselling novel, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess John Madden’s espionage thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; Welcome to Suck City, written and directed by Paul Weitz and starring two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Paul Dano; Lorene Scafaria’s pre-apocalyptic comedic romance Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; and Tomas Alfredson’s thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

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