It took five years to make the stop-motion animated Coraline. Dakota Fanning was nine years old when she started the part. Now she's about to turn 15.
Dakota Fanning is Coraline
"Between like every movie, I'd do a session," she said. "So I was doing like two or three sessions a year."
Covering the main range of puberty, that meant her voice was changing drastically between sessions. "I think it did. I think it did. I had to change it a little bit. [Director] Henry [Selick] would say, 'Oh, I think your voice is a little deeper.' And I went okay, I would fix it."
In addition to matching her pre-pubescent voice, Fanning had to tackle an accent too. "It was like a Michigan accent that he wanted. I didn't really know what that sounded like but I did that. It was really fun. I thought it added something else to the character and made it not sound like me."
Fanning was no novice at voice recording, but Coraline is the first character she originated. "I did Lilo & Stitch 2 which was 2 so there was already a first one, already a character to kind of base it upon. Then I did the redubbing of My Neighbor Totoro from Japanese and I did the English version. And that was already, my sister and I did that together and we were already kind of matching our voices to what was already animated but this movie, I started recording before they'd even like built the sets or made the models, so it was kind of from the beginning to the very end."
Still, Fanning was up for the challenge. "I think it was more challenging because you didn't have anything to look at or base yourself upon but I think that it's more rewarding in the end because you know you were in it from the very beginning."
Coraline opens Friday, the same day as Push. "It's so crazy that I have two coming out on the same day because I've been working on this one for so long as opposed to Push which I just filmed a year ago. That they would fall on the exact same day is so ironic but yeah, I hope people enjoy both of them."