Kendrick, filmmakers inspired by spirit of ‘ParaNorman’

Anna Kendrick Paranorman cast


Anna Kendrick voices Courtney, right, in “ParaNorman”
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Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the new stop-motion animated film “ParaNorman” in a strange way reflects the world it portrays.

That’s because for months on end, artisans from Laika Animation Studios painstakingly put their hearts and souls into moving their characters one frame at a time — and ultimately, when the film is completed, the characters all come to life like mystical spirits. The animation is so convincing, in fact, that the characters almost have a heart and soul as most live-action characters do.

“I think that spirit comes completely from the passion that the animators have for the characters, and that completely shines through these inanimate objects,” voice star Anna Kendrick told me in a recent interview.

“The animators don’t look at them as inanimate because they literally live with these objects while working on the film. They’re people to them.”

Sam Fell, who co-directed the film with screenwriter Chris Butler, believes the actors share a big part of the credit in bringing the characters to life.

“There are a number of pieces that go into it, like the voice actors, who record the dialogue first,” Fell told me. “So when you get somebody like Anna Kendrick, you’re getting a great actor, and in this case, a lot of great acting comes through the use of her voice. There’s soul in the voice.”

On the flip side, Fell added, the animators in some ways have to become actors.

“They bring the other half of the performance. They put their soul into it, too. They’re not just operators. A lot of them act out the actions first to bring the right tone to the movement,” said Fell, who previously directed “The Tale of Despereaux” and “Flushed Away.” “They get the idea inside of their minds, and then they go back through the motions as they move the characters along in a scene, which may take two, three or four weeks to do.”

Opening in theaters Friday in 2D and 3D, “ParaNorman” tells the story of Norman (voice of Kodi Smith-McPhee), a misunderstood middle schooler in a small town who has the uncanny gift of seeing ghosts and talking with the dead.

The problem is, Norman’s gift is like everyone else’s curse, and pretty much everyone in his school and in the town — including his family and annoying teenage cheerleader sister, Courtney (Kendrick) — treats him like an outcast. Fortunately, he has found a new friend in Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), who, like Norman, is a target of bullies in school.

The timing of the friendship couldn’t be more perfect, though, since the anniversary of a centuries-old curse is approaching and zombies and witches are starting to emerge in all corners of the community. Norman is going to need all the help he can get if he is to use his gift to save the townspeople from the otherworldly creatures.

Kendrick, a Best Supporting Actress nominee for the dramedy “Up in the Air” and a co-star in the first four “Twilight” films, said she had to become a part of “ParaNorman” after she read the script because the story holds as much meaning for kids as it does adults. She was thrilled that it had the ability to entertain its audiences as much as inform them.

“I always appreciated it when I was a kid seeing a family movie with adult themes in it. That way, it felt like the filmmakers weren’t underestimating their own audience,” Kendrick said. “I love that things get a lot deeper and darker in ‘ParaNorman.’ With the initial wave of zombies being introduced into the film, it became sort of this strange, silly farce, but then came another wave of mystery to uncover. Things get intense really quickly.”

Butler, a veteran storyboard artist and supervisor on the stop-motion films “Corpse Bride” and “Coraline,” said like the Tim Burton and Laika productions he previously worked on, he wanted “ParaNorman” to make his audiences think.

“Right when I first started writing this, I wanted something fundamental to the story that was challenging,” Butler explained to me. “I firmly believe the best children’s fiction, whether its literature or movies, is the stuff that challenges them. I don’t mean that it needs to be preachy, but it should maybe present something that children haven’t seen before.”

In the case of “ParaNorman,” that something is a crucial storyline that’s grounded in the Salem witch trials, which took place in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. And while Butler knows it’s an ambitious storyline for an animated film with a target audience that includes kids, he was also quick to point out that the idea of presenting potentially frightening content to children isn’t new.

“There’s a rich tradition of folk and fairy tales that have terrifying elements. But I think the key thing about them is that they all show there are monsters, and that you can defeat them. I think that’s really important,” Butler said.

“True, this is a movie about ghosts and zombies, and it’s a rollercoaster ride and it’s fun. But I wanted it to be about more than that, and using the witch trials as the central concept of the film was a way to show how intolerance translates to modern day,” Butler added. “There’s bullying in the middle school where Norman goes to, and there’s intolerance in the town in which he lives. It seemed so right to the story.”

Kendrick said she was moved by Butler’s and Fell’s commitment of trying to make a difference in people’s lives through their work.

“I just love that something exists that people put so much passion into, as well as so much artistry, humor and entertainment,” Kendrick enthused. “But the idea that it has themes that will resonate with both kids and adults is really special.” {}

ParaNorman: Anna Kendrick Gets Animated

Anna Kendrick in ParaNorman
Anna Kendrick took her first jump into the feature film animation world with ParaNorman and given its stellar stop motion animated style, she has clearly chosen well. “It was great to go into the recording studio and just make a fool of myself,” Kendrick told Movie Fanatic. “I’ve always wanted to try it, but I’d never done it before.”

ParaNorman is the story of the title character, a young kid who can see the supernatural world around him. Where he was once scoffed at, it is Norman who will potentially save his town from being overrun by the undead. Its charm is evidenced in the clever ParaNorman Olympic spot.

The actress, most recently seen in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, portrays Courtney, the obsessed-with-her-own-world teenage older sister of the title character. All she had to do is think back to when she was a teenager to nail her performance.

“Courtney’s the worst version of myself when you’re a teenage girl and you fight with your mom. It’s awful. You’re the (expletive) human being possible during those years. You’re kind of okay to other people, but you’re so mean to your mom,” Kendrick said and laughed.

“Courtney’s my shameful revisiting of my worst arguments with my mom. She hasn’t done anything wrong and you’re like, ‘You’re the worst!’”

Kendrick dove into her first animated film largely due to the message of the film and how it reminded her of a certain 1980’s classic.

“I love those movies where the kids band together. They have this contained adventure where the adults don’t even know what’s going on — but they know how high the stakes are. That was my favorite when I was a kid… like The Goonies,” Kendrick said.

“This would be one of my favorite movies if I was a kid.”

The film also allowed the Oscar-nominated actress to recall a few other magical films from her youth where most of the action centered on kids. “Like Space Camp, where kids get trapped in a space ship. There’s an adult or two, but isn’t it just the one woman? She’s the adult, and then it’s kids in space,” Kendrick said. “And Flight of the Navigator! That movie’s amazing.”

In terms of animated films, being a child of the Disney animated resurgence, her favorites should not surprise.

“I did get The Little Mermaid on VHS for my birthday one year and I started crying hysterically. I was inconsolable because I was so happy,” she said and laughed.

“My parents were like, ‘It’s not a big deal. It’s just a VHS tape.’ Every girl likes that movie!”

Recording an animated movie, more often than not, finds an actor performing alone in front of a microphone while a director sits behind a glass window in a booth. For Kendrick’s first foray into animation with ParaNorman, she was able to work with her onscreen crush, played by Ben Affleck’s little brother.

“My first session was actually with Casey Affleck, which was great because we were starting out together being kind of nervous and learning the animated process together,” Kendrick said.

The actress is keenly aware of how many doors have been opened for her by earning an Oscar nomination for Up in the Air. But she had to filter through roles that were too similar to the film that featured George Clooney.

“It was funny because after Up in the Air people just wanted me to play that same part in their movie, just do the same thing but for them. I thought that was really strange because it’s supposed to be this really creative industry. It opened the door for me to play that part again and again and again. I feel like I had to fight just as hard to get people to see me in a different way,” she said.

“I feel like I’ve been getting away from that more. It was almost like people needed a little bit of time to see me in a different way. It’s been a weird rippling effect. At first it was really strange because the thing that happened was everybody wanted me to play that character. Even in 50/50, that character is really different, really vulnerable, open and excited to help people.”

Judging by her upcoming film slate, many, many doors have indeed been opened.

“End of Watch, Pitch Perfect, Get a Job, Drinking Buddies, The Company You Keep,” she reeled off the titles of her upcoming movies. “I’m tired. Yes, I’m tired.” {}

Anna Kendrick gets ‘playfully offended’

Anna Kendrick assumed she got her part in Laika’s stop-motion animated “ParaNorman” — as the title character’s obnoxious older sister — because of her work in the “Twilight” series. But that wasn’t exactly the case. Luckily, the Oscar-nominated actress knows how to take even the most awkward of compliments.

When you’re cast to do a voice for a character some could describe as annoying, how do you take that?

Well, it was funny because actually I had assumed this was the first job offer I’d ever gotten because of “Twilight.” Because everything else is sort of based on “Rocket Science” or “Up in the Air” — and now “50/50” and so on and so forth. This is such a different character that I thought this has to be based on my character in “Twilight.” I asked them about it, and they said they’d never seen “Twilight” and they just heard my voice in an interview and thought it would be good, and I was like, “I don’t know how to take that at all. Thank you, I think?” (laughs) You know, I was like playfully offended.

Did you make it up to the Laika studio in Portland, Oregon?

All my [voice recording] sessions were in L.A., but I did make a special trip up to Laika just to see the sets, and I saw them when they were being taken apart so I got to kind of walk around in them, and that was really special … All the other actors were jealous that I got to walk through and take pictures, like, inside the set — as a 50-foot woman.

Did you take anything with you, like slip a tree in your pocket or something?

Oh, no. I considered it, but I thought I’d get in trouble. They gave me a mini bust of Courtney, which is hilarious because she’s so silly, and to have this really stately bust of her on my bookshelf is great. She’s got a lot of … physicality to work with.

After starting in theater, you made your move to film with  “Camp” almost 10 years ago.

That was a really special first experience to have, and I’m really glad that it worked out that way because I think if I’d been plopped into a normal film set, I think I would’ve been utterly bewildered and terrified. The fact that it was about musical theater and we were all first-time film actors just made it a really easy environment to ask questions and understand the process of filmmaking, and I think it really made me embrace filmmaking.

And you’re singing again in “Pitch Perfect” this fall.

I never really know what to say about it. It’s funny because I geeked out extra hard when we got there and we were learning all the music. I live for that s—. Once I got there, I was like, “This is the best thing ever!” I was like a pig in mud, just bathing in dorkiness. {}

Anna Kendrick finds new voice in ‘ParaNorman’

LOS ANGELES — Voice work was something Anna Kendrick always wanted to do, but she had no idea how to break into that world. That’s why when she was offered a voice role in “ParaNorman,” Kendrick almost said yes without reading the script.

“It was really exciting, while reading the script, to realize that this is like a kids’ adventure movie, which was my favorite thing when I was growing up,” Kendrick says. “It’s this band of hooligans trying to save the day and their parents are either nowhere to be found or are no help.”

Kendrick, 27, is the voice of Courtney, the superficial teen-age sister to the film’s central character who can see dead people. Courtney’s got a volatile nature and can go in a snap from being thrilled talking on the phone to a friend to being despondent over spilled nail polish.

The actress had no trouble channeling her inner teen. All Kendrick had to do was remember the worst moments of the worst fights she had with her mom.

“I didn’t use that voice when I was a kid, but it was a fun voice to find,” Kendrick says.

The only fear she had was all of the embarrassing grunts, groans and other sounds she had to make. It helped that she was often in the recording studio with Casey Affleck, who voices the muscle-bound object of Courtney’s affections. The pair got very competitive trying to out-grunt each other.

Courtney’s an unwitting member of the teen team, but Kendrick had no trouble facing the big world when she was young. She had already earned a Tony Award (Best Actress Featured Role — Musical for “High Society”) by the time she was 13.

“In retrospect, it feels brave and scary and strange. But at the time, it was: ‘This is what I have to do and I have no other choice other than to do this,’ ” Kendrick says.

And she keeps doing it. “ParaNorman” is one of six films featuring Kendrick that are scheduled to come out this year. It could have been seven, but her “Twilight” character is not in the series’ final movie.

“I think I made too many movies last year,” Kendrick says. “By the end of the year, I was really tired.”

What makes this flock of films so surprising is that they come after a period where Kendrick was gun shy about taking work. After earning an Oscar nomination for her work in 2009’s “Up In the Air,” Kendrick passed on several projects because she felt a lot of pressure to only do quality work.

She kept busy reprising her small role in the “Twilight” movies, but she didn’t really jump back into full-time filmmaking until she made “50/50” last year. Since then, Kendrick has been on a hectic acting pace.

“Suddenly, I felt like: ‘Isn’t the point that I want to work because I love my job and I love being on set?’ ” she says. “I want to have fun, and I shouldn’t be thinking about how it all fits into some perfect plan or perfect path. It should be what makes me happy when I wake up in the morning and have to go to work.” {}

Anna Kendrick’s farewell to fame by Twilight association

Anna Kendrick knows what it’s like to be famous by the company she keeps. And she’s not talking about acting opposite George Clooney in Up in the Air.

After all, Kendrick earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her Up in the Air part and all the celebrity status that arrives with the build up to Hollywood’s hyper-glam Academy Awards evening.

The actress, who provides the voice for Courtney in the animated movie ParaNorman, was talking about her role of Jessica in the Twilight series which ends with the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 on Nov. 16.

Her Jessica wrapped with Breaking Dawn – Part 1 last year, but she has nostalgic feelings for the franchise as the official end draws near.

What she won’t do is exaggerate her bond with the main stars in the blockbusters; Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner.

“I am on the sets for it like two weeks tops,” said Kendrick during a recent interview promoting ParaNorman in L. A. “It’s like going to summer camp. You are close to people when you are there, but then you’re gone.”

Mind you, the actress has come across fanatic Twihard fans since Twilight burst onto the movie scene four years ago. “There was one little girl who ran in a circle like a puppy when she recognized me.”

Mostly, though, Kendrick decided fans are consumed by all things Twilight, whether it’s on the periphery or not.

Still, there is a priority; with Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner at the top of the list, and maybe Ashley Greene ((who plays Alice Cullen in the series) at the top of the secondary list.

“I do acknowledge I am a connection to Twilight,” said Kendrick. “But if I was ever with Ashley Greene, fans would trample me to get to her.” {}

Anna Kendrick on ParaNorman, Finally Playing a Hot Blonde, and Her Geek Cred

Anna Kendrick — well, her voice — inhabits a blonde cheerleader in a pink track suit in ParaNorman, the latest stop-motion animated delight from Oregon’s LAIKA studio (which gave us Coraline). Kendrick’s character, Courtney, is the perpetually annoyed older sister of the titular Norman, a kid who has the ability to see and talk to the dead — which makes him an outcast even in his witch-obsessed Salem-esque hometown. But Norman may also be the only one capable of stopping a zombie horde, too, so he has his uses. Kendrick, who’s kind of over the vampire and werewolf thing after doing five Twilight movies,  says she was ready to explore other supernatural areas, and also to play against type — here, she finally gets to be hot. She also gets to be a hot dog — well, in Chicago. It’s complicated. Anyway, she took a break to tell Vulture about her newfound zombie makeup skills, her Godzilla impressions, and her geek cred.

How do you feel about zombies? You a fan?
Oh God, yeah. I’m into The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead, obviously, and I’ve seen all the Romero movies. I am a classic zombie queen. And I love the White Walkers on Game of Thrones. Weirdly, it wasn’t until pretty late in life that I found my entry point into horror films, because for years, the only one I really liked was The Bad Seed, and the purists would say that is not a horror film. I didn’t like all the damsels in distress in horror, or even what they call the Final Girl, which to me is really just a girl in distress for the entire movie. But once I saw Sarah Polley kicking ass in the Dawn of the Dead remake, I was like, Oh! I totally get this now.

Was Comic-Con any different for you this time around, since you’re now on zombie radar?
Oh, yeah. This girl was in the bathroom, and she had all these prosthetic wounds, and her forehead was peeling off. So she’s leaning over the sink, trying to fix her makeup, and I helped her get her wound back on. It was weirdly sweet. Just another lady helping another lady! [Laughs.] I was just trying to be normal, like it was no big deal.

Well, now when people ask you for your makeup tips, you can tell them, “This is how you put on your zombie face.”
“This is the right glue to hold it up.” Totally. Because they do ask me for my beauty secrets all the time. I’m going to bone up on that. [Laughs.] They’re going to think I’m a real hard-core geek! I’m only medium geek.

This is your first animated film. How did you find your voice for it? Because Courtney’s more shrill than you are.
You know, I’ve always wanted to do animation, and I didn’t know how to break into that world, so I was really excited that they offered this to me. But you’re right, that’s not how I speak. I didn’t mean to do that voice at first, but it came out of me. I think of it as my fighting-with-my-mom voice. Like I would imagine the worst fights with my mom, and relive those moments. And she’s screaming like she’s dying because she spilled a bottle of nail polish. [Imitates.] “Nnnh! Gawwd!” I was just screwing up my body in all these weird positions to make those noises. Halfway through it, Casey [Affleck] was like, “You’re doing knee and feet acting.”

How do you like your character’s look?
It’s actually kind of flattering that someone thought of me as the hot blonde chick. [Laughs.] If you’re doing live action, you can change your hair, your makeup, your clothes, and you can transform, but it’s nothing like this. This was a treat, to inhabit the body of a tall 16-year-old with an ass for days. She’s got back! I loved hearing my voice coming out of that body. They showed me the puppet on the first day and that helped a lot.

Those puppets are so cute!
I know! I visited the LAIKA studio after they were done, and I got to play with all the puppets. Everything had stopped filming, and there was a set where one of the streets was destroyed, so I stood in the middle of the street like Godzilla and took a picture. It looked like I had stomped the street.

Too bad you couldn’t do that on the Twilight sets. Does it feel weird to be saying good-bye to that franchise after all these years?
Yeah, it’s weird, because it’s been a part of my life for so long. I’m not torn up about it, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s over.

Isn’t your character in Pitch Perfect supposed to be a goth?
That’s the weird thing. The word “goth” got out there, but she’s not exactly a goth. She’s just mad at the world. It’s not like I was intentionally looking to do a musical — I don’t have a master plan — but occasionally I get bored, and this was the kind of thing that excited me. You can hear me sing “No Diggity” in the trailer, but that one was in my body from childhood. There are other songs I really have no business singing, but that one, I was like, “You don’t need to teach me this song.” If I didn’t have an emotional connection to a song, it was harder to find the right way to perform it. But it’s not like the show Glee at all.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse is in ParaNorman with you, as well as Pitch Perfect, as well as your other upcoming film Get a Job. Are you stalking him?
It’s on. [Laughs.] It’s so weird. We’re in three films together. What is happening? But he is not in the film I just shot, Drinking Buddies. That was in Chicago. Do you know the hot-dog place there, Hot Dougs? It was like five blocks away from where we were shooting, and they have a hot dog named after me! It’s called the Anna Kendrick. The description is “mighty hot.” So I got it, and it’s really spicy! You’re going to need a drink to go with that one. {}

Anna Kendrick’s believes in the ParaNorman

LOS ANGELES – Anna Kendrick decided to be picky about movie choices after her 2010 Oscar nomination for Up in the Air. But she soon discovered the subsequent unemployment wasn’t working.

So, the 27-year-old went from one extreme to the other. Now, Kendrick has roles in seven upcoming films

“I think I made too many movies last year,” said the perky Kendrick, smirking at her understatement in a Four Seasons hotel suite. “I came off Up in the Air a little gun shy about doing other things, but then I started realizing the point of this is to have fun, so I stopped worrying about my films fitting into some perfect plan.”

As luck and timing would have it, one of her assignment’s was a dream come true. That’s doing a voice in an animated movie, which turned out to be ParaNorman, which opens in Canada and the U. S. on Aug. 17.

In the 3-D comedy, which blends stop motion, puppetry and CGI, Kendrick brings to life Courtney, the teen sister of Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a misunderstood boy who talks to dead people in his New England town.

When the kid discovers the village might be in jeopardy because of a centuries-old witch’s curse, he mobilizes a group of teens to save the day as they battle zombies, ghouls and supernatural demons.

Norman’s posse includes his chubby buddy Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Neil’s muscular brother Mitch (Casey Affleck), the school’s bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Courtney.

Grownups appear now and again but mostly for comic relief. Norman’s mother (Leslie Mann) is cute but unaware. His dad (Jeff Garlin) is a meat-and-potatoes non-believer. Norman’s ghostly grandmother (Elaine Stritch) seems bemused by it all. Only the loony Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman) knows what Norman knows.

The Laiki Studios’ production is the same in theme and tone as its inaugural 2009 movie, Coraline, which blended the macabre with merriment in an entertainment designed for kids of all ages.

“They called me out of the blue,” recalled Kendrick. “I almost said, ‘Yes,’ without reading the script.”

Indeed, ParaNorman co-directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell couldn’t imagine an actress better suited to play the needy, mood-swinging but likable Courtney.

“Anna has this playfulness we really enjoyed,” Fell said. Added Butler: “She also has this great voice that allows her to turn her emotions on a dime.”

In fact, Kendrick had fun searching for her inner-teen during the recording sessions.

“I tried to imagine my worst fights with my mom,” she said. “And I loved how volatile Courtney is, so I tried to find that kind groaning, ‘gawd’ thing teenagers do.”

Responding almost immediately to the ParaNorman story, helped the process, too. “It reminds me of a great kids adventure, like The Goonies, where a band of hooligans tries to save the day, and parents are nowhere to be found or no help at all.”

Another movie role is decidedly more adult. She has a small part in the Robert Redford political thriller, The Company You Keep, which will premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival.

“I couldn’t even say he was on my bucket list because it would be so out there,” said Kendrick. “He was like a god in our house, so getting to work with him was special.”

Meanwhile, her role in the musical Pitch Perfect, out in early October, reconnects the actress with her Broadway past. Her first major acting role was as a 12-year-old playing Dinah in the redo of High Society, which earned the rookie a Tony nomination.

In Perfect Pitch, she plays a punk-like college student who finds herself, and her voice, by joining a campus a capella group. “At first I thought it would be just like Glee, but once I got into it, I geeked out pretty hard,” she said.

On the other hand, she went off beat with Drinking Buddies, an improvised comedy with Olivia Wilde and Jake M. Johnson. She just finished filming it in Chicago. “I am pretty sure, we were shooting without permits,” Kendrick said.

Low budget or not, she did find the time to visit Hot Doug’s in the Windy City. She couldn’t resist. Kendrick had heard the popular hot dog diner, which features specialty dogs named after celebrities, was serving The Anna Kendrick Fire Dog.

“It was really spicy,” she said of the concoction formerly called the Keira Knightley, the Jennifer Garner and the Britney Spears.

The actress never did uncover why she was worthy of a special Hot Doug’s, which also has servings named after Elvis, Brigitte Bardot and Joe Strummer. “I kept thinking one of these things is not like the others.”

More famously, the end is near for the Twilight series with the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in November. That means Kendrick will be officially finished with her character Jessica and the popular film franchise.

“Yeah, it’s weird not to have it on the horizon, because it was a part of my life for so long,” she said. “”It’s like your favorite restaurant closing, and you can’t go there anymore.” {}

Kendrick happy to work on ‘ParaNorman’

LOS ANGELES — Anna Kendrick is everywhere. The Oscar-nominated actress, 27, has six movies coming out this year, among them the animated adventure ParaNorman, which brings her here to meet with reporters. ParaNorman opens in theatres Friday.

“I think I made too many movies last year,” she jokes. “I kind of came off Up in the Air a little gun shy, because I felt pressure to choose the perfect projects. I did 50/50, which was amazing and I’m really proud of that project, but I was a little hesitant about everything else.

“And then, suddenly, I felt like, wait — isn’t the point that I want to work? ‘Cause I love my job and I love getting up and being on set and I want to have fun. So I shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not it fits into some perfect plan or some perfect path, but just about what’s going to make me happy when I wake up in the morning and go to work.”

ParaNorman, one of those things that made Kendrick happy when she went to work, is the story of an adolescent boy (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) who gets bullied at school because he can see ghosts. And befriend them. Norman’s special gifts eventually require him to save the whole town, but in the role of his teenaged older sister Courtney, Kendrick is there to keep him in line. To capture her inner teen, says the actress, “I tried to imagine the worst moments of my worst fights with my mom — like uhhhnnn, I’ll be embarrassed by that forever — and re-live those moments. I love how volatile Courtney is. Thrilled to talk on the phone to her friends, then screaming like she’s dying cause she spilled a bottle of nailpolish.”

Kendrick was already a star on Broadway when Jason Reitman’s film, Up in the Air, made her a movie star, too. She went to her first auditions at the age of 10, taking the bus from her home in Maine to New York City. At 12, she nabbed a role in the Broadway musical High Society and was nominated for several awards, including a Tony.

Where does a child get that kind of courage?

“It’s funny, when I think about it in retrospect, it feels brave and scary and strange,” says Kendrick, “but at the time it was just, ‘This is what I have to do. I don’t have a choice, other than to do this.’ ” That passion for performance probably sounds silly, she concedes. “If I heard someone else say that, I’d be embarrassed for them,” she says, laughing. “I don’t mean, ‘It was my calling, damn it!’ I just mean it was all that I ever planned on doing.”

The plan worked well. Kendrick continued to find success on Broadway, then made her film debut in 2003 in Camp and went on to roles in Rocket Science, the Twilight franchise, Elsewhere, Up in the Air, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 50/50 and What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

Among the upcoming films she’s in this year is Pitch Perfect, which will show off her amazing singing voice. Then there’s The Company You Keep, which co-stars Robert Redford; he also directs.

“I can’t even say working with him was on my bucket list,” she says of the experience, “because you would never even dare to put something that amazing on your bucket list! When I grew up, he was like a god in our house cause my mom was a huge fan, and getting to work with him was so special.”

Kendrick recently finished a no-budget movie called Drinking Buddies, which was shot in Chicago. While there, she discovered a sausage emporium called Hot Doug’s. “They have a hotdog named after me!” Kendrick says, obviously flattered. “It’s really spicy. The other hotdogs are called like, the Brigitte Bardot and the Joe Strummer, and I’m like, ‘One of these things is not like the others!’

But something about the experience still bothers her. “I had to run back to work,” says Kendrick, “So I was like, ‘Doug, thank you, that was delicious,’ and I signed the menu and we ran into the car. And away we went.

“And then I was like, ‘Oh my God, we didn’t pay!’ ” {}

Kendrick: Paranorman was physical

Anna Kendrick has revealed she was surprised by how physical her acting was in new animated movie Paranorman.
The Twilight star plays Courtney in the adventure comedy, which also features the voices of Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Leslie Mann.

She told Collider: “Just how physical it was (surprised me) – I was throwing myself around in all these ugly positions, Casey Affleck said they should get like a knee cam for my knee acting because I was doing a lot of knee acting.”

The actress added: “What surprised me was how much they wanted us to improvise, because I just assumed that wasn’t the nature of animated films, and for them those moments of spontaneity are the things that help them from letting it get stale when they’re animating it slowly and meticulously.”

The actress said the end result of the movie – about a little boy who takes on zombies and ghosts to save his town from a curse – is “stunning”.

“Obviously I knew the people involved in it, I knew it was going to be beautiful and I just couldn’t believe how visually stunning it was, especially when it gets into the third act it crescendos in this way that I didn’t know it was going to feel like, the scale got so much bigger,” she said.

“There are moments in the third act where it feels like the whole fabric of the universe is coming apart.” {PA}

Anna Kendrick and Casey Affleck are competitive

Anna Kendrick and Casey Affleck were ”competitive” when voicing ‘ParaNorman’.

The pair lent their talents to an animated film for the first time in the movie and while they found it easier navigating the dialogue together, the two stars went out of their way to ”embarrass themselves”.

Anna said: ”I got to record my first day with Casey Affleck. He’d never done it before either. We were both really new to it and it was a great way to start out. By the end of the day, we were getting more and more comfortable, and it became a little competitive to see who was willing to embarrass themselves more. Who won? Probably Casey.”

Anna – who voiced cheerleader Courtney Babcock in the 3D stop-motion animated adventure movie – was happy that she and Casey were encouraged to use improvisation when they recorded their scenes.

She said: ”That was the other great thing about having Casey there, because I have a crush on him in the film. We got to do a lot of stuff and the directors were so open to improv because, according to them, the process is so slow and so precise that those moments of spontaneity are so important. Anything you can do to keep that process spontaneous helps them later.” {}

Anna Kendrick was ”worried” her acting would be limited in ‘ParaNorman’.

Anna Kendrick was ”worried” her acting would be limited in ‘ParaNorman’ because she had never voiced a character before, but she was surprised at how much the role exercised her talent.

The 27-year-old actress lends her vocal talents to the role of cheerleader Courtney Babcock in the 3D stop-motion animated adventure movie, but she was concerned standing in one room in front of a microphone all day wouldn’t be fully exercising her talent.

He said: ”I feel like ‘ParaNorman’ was this almost pure acting exercise, it’s been so great to feel like I don’t have any limitations.

”Going into it I thought that I would, I was worried I would feel really limited and restricted having to stand in front of the microphone in a room. But in fact, it was just the opposite – I felt as if I had no limitations, I felt more free; I didn’t worry about the camera move, the lighting, the other actor, hitting my mark, my face or my body.

”I’d be given direction and then say the lines without over thinking them. That was really satisfying.”

While Anna initially didn’t think filming the movie would be very active, she found the work ”physically exhausting” particularly when her character was involved in athletic scenes.

She added to ”I was surprised by how physically exhausting the voice work was – maybe that’s just me, with my first time doing it.

”But because I’m being chased by zombies in this film and things of that nature, I found myself trying to stay in my little radius where the microphone could still pick up what I was doing, but doing a lot of hand stuff and feet stuff – I was doing all this weird stuff with my feet.”

‘ParaNorman’ Star Anna Kendrick: Saying Goodbye to ‘Twilight’ ‘Feels Weird’

On Nov. 16, Twihards around the world will bid adieu to Twilight when its final installment, Breaking Dawn – Part II, blasts into theaters.

As the film’s release date approaches, Anna Kendrick — who played Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) seldom-seen BFF Jessica Stanley — took a moment to share her thoughts on saying goodbye, during which she compared the whole thing to being at camp.

“It’ s like going to summer camp, where you feel really close to everybody when you’re there,” said Kendrick while promoting her new animated movie, ParaNorman. “I guess now I’ll have to make more of an effort, because I won’t see them just for work anymore.”

Kendrick’s final scene in the franchise happened in Breaking Dawn – Part I, in which Bella and Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally get married. Looking back on the moment, Kendrick recalls it was a tough shoot, all thanks to Mother Nature’s tricky ways.

“It was freezing and raining,” she said. “It was the middle of the night. We were pretending it was summer. It was 40 degrees and I was in a summer dress. So this sums up the experience: It was cold and wet but [we were all] pretending to be warm and happy.”

Kendrick, 27, has been in heavy demand in Hollywood after co-starring in the George Clooney vehicle Up in the Air, for which she received an Oscar nomination in 2010. Among the perks: getting to work with legendary icon Robert Redford on his new movie The Company You Keep.

“He was like a god in our house, because my mom was a huge fan,” Kendrick said of Redford. “Getting to work with him was so special.”

“It’s a tiny part,” she continued. “I was making two other movies at the time and my agents were like, ‘You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. It’s a small part.’ I was like, ‘I do have to do this!’”

Although she’s clearly moved on to even bigger things since Twilight, saying goodbye to the Saga still feels bittersweet for Kendrick.

“It’s weird to just not have it on the horizon, because it was a part of my life for so long,” she said. “It’s not like I’m torn up about it, but … I keep reminding myself that it’s over. I keep imagining, ‘When do I have to go shoot the next one? Oh right, it’s over.’” {}