Travis Knight, Producer and CEO of animation studio Laika was joined by Sam Fell and Chris Butler (also the film's writer), directors of ParaNorman, along with actors Kodi Smit-McPhee (Norman), Anna Kendrick (Courtney), Christopher Mintz Plasse (Alvin) to talk about the movie.
Butler says that he's been working on the script for the movie or developing it in some way or another over the last 16 years, with actual production starting three years ago. Inspired by Goonies, Ghostbusters, Butler says the central concept was "John Carpenter meets John Hughes" as a zombie movie for kids.
The story, told in stop-motion (my absolute favorite animation medium, by the way), follows Norman Babcock, a young outcast who can see and hear ghosts. When he learns that an evil witch is going to raise the dead in his small town, he'll have to band together with his friend (singular) and enemies to save everyone. The first scene that we saw came from the second act and involved Norman attempting to read from a book that would prevent the rise of the dead. Interrupted by Alvin (who he bumped into earlier on his bike), Norman and his bully are stuck in the graveyard as the zombies start popping out the ground.