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Neil Gaiman on Coraline

Published February 3, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Focus Features
Coraline Poster Coraline
Neil Gaiman's work is usually geared towards mature audiences. He has entered the children's realm though, including the novel Coraline whose film adaptation is out this week. Now Gaiman is experience Hollywood fame, on a noticeably grander scale than literary fame.

Neil Gaiman Introduces Coraline


"We did an industry screening and afterwards, at the end of the thing, I suddenly got a glimpse of what it must be to be the Jonas Brothers," Gaiman said. "I was surrounded by 11-year-old girls wanting autographs, with their eyes shining. They were all fans of the book, and now fans of the movie. There was definitely this really cool feeling of having given them something with a heroine, somebody who doesn’t get saved by boys and doesn’t tag along. She’s kick-ass. That, in itself, was a joy."

In the story, Coraline finds an other world where her parents are nice and fun. Of course, there is a monstrous secret she has to face there in the end. "A lot of it was putting different things together. For example, the door was just something I stole from my childhood. My family had a house that was divided neatly into two. We lived in the servants quarters, but we had one good room that had been the family room. Another family had the posh half of the house, but we had the good front room. The good front room had two doors, one of which had gone to the good half of the house and one of which went to the servants’ quarters. The good half of the house door was bricked up, and I would walk over to it sometimes and open it, and it would always be bricked up. I was always sure that, if I just crept up on it right, and opened it in the right way, it wouldn’t be a brick wall, it would be something else. So, I took that. Most of the rest of it just came from things in my life. I set it in the house that we lived in, at the time."


More than just visuals, Coraline has a message for kids too. "It was written for my daughter. I wanted a story that was about bravery. I wanted a story that said, 'Look, there are monsters out there, but you can beat them.' When I was a kid, I had not understood bravery. When I was a kid, I thought being brave meant not being scared. Whenever I was scared, I’d think, 'I’m such a coward.' When I was in my late 20's, early 30's, I thought, 'Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. Being not scared is something that anybody can do. It’s something that most people do, most of the time. Being brave is when you’re scared and you do it anyway. You do the right thing, even though you’re scared. That’s being brave.'”

The film takes some leaps from the book, but Gaiman is on board. He happily endorses the film. "It’s Henry’s vision, and that’s fine. If I’d wanted it to be mine, I would have made the film. It’s much more fun for me to find somebody whose work I love and who I trust. I think it’s awesome. It’s the most advanced, ambitious, exciting stop-motion film that anybody’s ever made. The use of 3-D is astounding. I’m very used to 3-D films in which people use the 3-D to throw things at you. You’re in the audience and things are coming towards you. What I love about what Henry does is that he uses 3-D to proceed things from you. Suddenly, things have depth. It’s using 3-D to define space, in a way that I think is completely original and actually makes me feel like this really isn’t a novelty thing. It really is something that people can use, in the years to come."

Coraline opens to theaters on February 6th.

For the trailers, poster and more movie info, go to the Coraline Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Focus Features
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