Saturday, January 31, 2009

CORALINE press junket part 3

another day of hotel rooms and people packed in to roundtables, all clamoring for the attention of the creatives.
lots of tape recorders thrown across the table to sit right under the speaking gentleman.
let’s not forget the banks of microphones!


this time I sat on the plushy chair provided (no bathtubs available?)
and watched, listened, learned as thoughts were verbally batted around in the air.

Neil was asked many questions on the themes of what he felt stop-motion lent to a story like CORALINE and why he chose Henry as director. He explained that when he saw NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS he noticed (like so many others might not have) that while it said "Tim Burton’s NBC", it was directed by Henry Selick. After he finished writing CORALINE, years and years ago, he asked his agent to get it to Henry first because he believed that he had the vision to bring it to the screen.

When the option ran out, Neil even did the unspeakable in HOllywood, which was to extend Henry’s option for free based on NEil's faith in him. (the Holywood reporters practically stood up and cheered on that one, it really was a beautiful thing to do, rather than yank it away because by that time, there was plenty of big studio interest in it)

The allure of stop-motion versus the machinery of CGI was that it was real, Neil went on to outline a perfectly charming story of a conversation with a set carpenter, who had been involved in building the pirate ship for STARDUST for two months that was slated to be scrapped after filming, and Neil was apologetic. The carp then replied to the effect of “No, man! If it weren’t for you, we’d be building shelves.”

Another reporter asked if Neil was considering any other of his stories for animated film versions, he said that ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS (one of my personal favorites)
would be a good candidate. Also, he was very clear about GRAVEYARD BOOK being live action. When I heard announced (on the Today show, no less) that Neil “THE COMPANY OF WOLVES” Jordan was slated to helm it, I cried a wee Irish tear of joy.
I remember going to see WOLVES in the theatre on a date, and I couldn’t talk after, was so moved, most especially by the little doll crying in the birds’ nest... and a naked Danielle Dax! (needless to say, the date went south)

Of course, talk moved over to the Sandman-as-movie subject, many of the reporters wanted to talk about
what may happen in this film climate of graphic novel mania. Neil said (and wisely so)
the way he saw it, things may happen if a director came along that had the mad passion for the project like Peter Jackson had for LORD OF THE RINGS.

Afer each roundtable, the reporters whipped out their books etc to have Neil sign, which he graciously did.


and he even signed for non-reporters as well:



we watched as the sun went down over the city of Los Angeles and finally everyone went home and our poor hero got some food and sleep.


Next up is his Canada run,
one I am not going to be there for, sadly, as the schedule looks like a serious nightmare.
I will put a super-duper shield on him before his plane whisks him away.

Next stop for me, Portland. I will post a little youtube movie shortly, but for now, I have a batch of fan mail for him to sign (yes REALLY!)

Words to end this, Neil did say that CORALINE was a story about bravery and a lesson that children may follow the rest of their lives in that it shows that you CAN fight big things and win. We can all stand by that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CORALINE press junket part 2

sitting on the floor of a swanky Beverly hills hotel,
listening to the soothing sounds of Neil speaking to various and sundry reporters
on the domestic part of his Coraline junket.

press junket


view from bev hills

Last night was the big industry screening at the Graumann’s Chinese, that venerable old Hollywood landmark. Publicist Maggie won me over with the free popcorn and the clever use of a deck (or ten) of Bicycle playing cards as tokens to get in to the afterparty. (i drew the nine of diamonds, Boss got the eight of hearts) It was Almost as clever as the Fabulous Lorraine using buttons as passes......

free popcorn!

The 3-D so well done, it nearly overwhelmed me, in the way that I was feeling dizzily disoriented at even the Real D logo in the very beginning.

about the movie--

A shout-out toTeri Hatcher, girl, you were truly impressive with that buttery honeydripper of a voice for all the incarnations of Coraline’s mother.

also lovely was the fact that there was a cat character (devilishly voiced by Keith David)
that wasn’t a stereo-typical mean kitty. finally!
I could listen to Ian McShane’s Mister Bobinsky’s accent forever. I have been saving the whole of Deadwood for a snowed-in someday, but now I may just get that out of the way to spend more time with Mister Ian.

FRENCH AND SAUNDERS as SPINK AND FORCIBLE. I want to be them for Halloween, both of them, and have jewelled eye glasses on stems, with big glittery ocean colored gems on as a costume. I was literally drop-jawed in all their scenes.
Those ladies, worth their weight in gold.

I was moved and frightened at different turns. Without giving anything away, I had to be reminded by the videos playing at the afterparty of the animators moving the little gorgeous puppets, that silicone puppets moved by human hands evoked those emotions in me. I gave a big love-punch to the shoulder of director Henry Selick for fooling me so perfectly. His sense of put-this-here and place-that-there, his is a true director’s heart.

Coraline screening

Neil had Fairuza Balk accompany him to the screening, and she was a sparkler, a starlet-y firecracker. My Drew, who years ago told me she was his ultimate Hollywood crush, was a bit gaga. Neil asked him at one point in the evening if he could sort of stay with her, while he got whisked away on a wave of well wishers---the look of love and gratitude on Drew’s face towards Neil, priceless. Here they are together :

Drew & Fairuza

Drew left this morning for the Elton John tour, here he is on Captain Fantastic’s star, last night in front of the Chinese Theatre with Mr. Selick in the background. {Bye honey}

Drew & Elton & Henry

Neil has to move on to another location to do more press. So I wrap this up.
Will say this, that man is terrifyingly smart, with one hell of a spicy charming bite. The press is getting their best quotes out of him, as he valiantly strives to give each one a bit of a different story.

I always learn so much, perched in the corner, ticky tapping on my MacBook.

(not sure if this is a junket leak, but Boss just made me laugh with saying to some reporter that he could now relate to the Jonas Brothers, because of the tweener age group girls coming and asking for his autograph)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

CORALINE press junket part 1

for all you sun-starved wintery people, a view from the hotel where the CORALINE press junket kicked off. I can hear the waves crash on the is gorgeous, just a bit breezy and 68* F.

before the rounds began, our hero got what is called a bit of "grooming". It has long been my personal opinion that if NG hadn't hit the genius lottery and he was just, say, a punk rock record store owner, juggling his rent check and getting his cell phone turned off intermittently, he still doesn't need very much grooming. Looking good, boss. And our stylist guy Tyson really agreed, calling him very low-maintenance, in that tone, where you know, maybe this isn't normally the case in Hollywood. Cathy, who is having a bit of coffee in the background, was the Universal rep, who didn't drop the ball once. Thanks, girl. She's off next to Toyko---

In spite of what the term "press junket" might conjure for you--- for me, vaguely covert operations, with a bunch of steno pads thrown in---the word "junket" just has the whiff of illegal danger, maybe a lost weekend.
Not so. It is iPhone/Blackberry-toting good-natured reporters coming from all points on the globe, to meet in hotel rooms and fire questions at the principals involved in the film.

we began with France and headed south to Brazil and north to Finland etc.
lots of Australians roaming around.
As always, I learn so much while sitting and waiting (this time perched on the edge of a hotel bathtub, with big Pelican cases for the video gear stowed in by my knees).
Neil was telling the Brazilian lady that 20 years ago, her countrymen were the first to put SANDMAN into reprint. He likened Brazil his first favorite girlfriend, which delighted the lady.

of course, the crew filming and doing the coordinating were a little loud as these things happen, so i got posted outside on "shhhhh" duty, and was very librarian-esque with my stern glances. Felt like my little librarian Mom-- ahah...

here Immanuel from France gets a little scribble in his book.

the hotel got a few black marks for bad behavior this morning, which I shall not detail here, but I gave it a gold star on the cute rooms and the good carpeting.
Here is a little Coraline promo poster, I am so ready to see the finished film---
Wednesday night!