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Teri Hatcher on Coraline

Published February 9, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Focus Features
Coraline Poster Coraline

In Coraline, Teri Hatcher provides the voice of Coraline's mother. At home, she is too frantically involved with her business to pay attention to her daughter. In the other world Coraline finds, Mother is the darling she always dreamed of. However, it turns out Other Mother has an evil plan for Coraline. Either way, Hatcher was sure not to make any incarnation a desperate housewife.

Teri Hatcher is (Other) Mother in Coraline

"I think it’s easy marketing-wise to make some connection, but I think they’re very different," Hatcher said. "I don’t think I hear any Teri in the movie, and I don’t think I hear Susan either, which I’m really happy about. I don’t think they’re similar to the characters on the show. I think the most relatable character in life, and certainly in our economy right now and our society, we have a lot of working families, working mothers, that are just exhausted and trying to do it all, and are so burdened with worry and that makes you regretful, really, of your children, but not in a mean way. More in the way of survival, you can only accomplish so much so you’ve got a lot of parents just running on empty and not able to be consciously and mindfully parenting the way they might like to. I think that’s a really relatable thing, and I think on its deepest level, the movie thematically shows us that children can be lured away into something that is enticing and seems like it’s going to be better and seems like it’s going to be the answer to everything and ends up ultimately being very dangerous, if not entrapping. What I love about the ending is that we really see Coraline embrace the imperfections in her parents and understand that that love is enough. I think that’s a really great message for the world right now, because certainly nobody is perfect."

Some of the images Coraline finds in the other world are intense and scary. As a mother herself, Hatcher thinks every parent should use their personal judgment for their own kids' viewing. "I think it’s really an individual family’s choice. I mean you hear about three-year-olds going to see The Dark Knight and I didn’t take my 11-year-old to see that movie. I think is a personal choice. What I do think about this movie, and I know lots of young kids who have already seen it, just as part of the screenings, so I’ve heard some different interpretations. I believe in my own parenting. We’ve always talked about everything. I’ve always said to my daughter, 'I know you don’t want to believe this, but there’s nothing you’re going to feel that I haven’t felt and experienced.' And the things that kids get, they feel alone, and they feel ashamed and they feel jealousy, they feel anger, they feel things that aren’t necessarily comfortable to talk about. I think whenever you have an opportunity to communicate with your kids in an open and imaginative and humorous way, which this movie provides, I think even when there are scary feelings that come up, I think the communication behind that and the message in this movie makes it worth seeing."

Emerson Hatcher joined her mom in some of the recording sessions. Astute viewers can pick out her voice in certain scenes. "I’m very much not a believer in children working. In terms of when I talk to her about it, I say, 'There’s just your whole life to be rejected, responsible and have to pay a mortgage and all kinds of things. Here’s the time when you don’t have to do that.' But I also believe in opportunity. She came up to Portland to this studio with me and she was very intrigued with the story of Coraline from the moment I got the movie. She came to the studio and was listening to me record, and I actually was recording some of the scariest voice, which she didn’t want to hear, so she went into another room with another adult, because it was sort of intense, I guess, to watch her mother do that. And Henry actually asked her if she would like to record some lines. There’s the characters that are the friends in the picture frame and then there were some other random characters. I think that scene with the bugs and all, he had her record 'Coraline, Coraline, what’s wrong Coraline?' and she didn’t want me to watch, and then I went in the other room and Henry directed her. There was no guarantee she was going to be in the movie. It was just sort of a lark and an experience and a mother-daughter thing."

The finished film was a hit with Emerson and her friends. "We had a screening. They needed me to see the movie, the first time I saw it because they started doing press. It was either me sitting in a theatre with a 150 empty seats or me invite some of Emerson’s friends and their parents. So we ended up doing that. I’m very much known sort of like Camp Hatcher, like come to my house and build forts and bake cookies and paint paintings. Right after the movie was over, one of the kids went, ‘Well, no more sleepovers at Hatcher’s house.’ They were kidding, of course, but it was very well timed. That kid has a future in comedy."

Coraline is out in theaters now.

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

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Focus Features

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