Sounding Off: Jon Brion signed on to compose PARANORMAN

Allison Loring

by: Allison Loring
June 22nd, 2011

Composer Jon Brion (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, THE FUTURE) has been tapped to create the score for LAIKA and Focus Features’ upcoming PARANORMAN. The film tells the story of a young boy named Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who can speak to zombies (as well as other supernatural characters) as he tries to defend his town against a sudden onslaught from the undead creatures.

Best known for his scores for ETERNAL SUNSHINE and MAGNOLIA (both of which were nominated for Grammys for Best Score Soundtrack Album) Brion’s otherworldly and slightly magical musical style make him a natural fit for the film and it should be interesting to see what he creates to bring this story to life. PARANORMAN will be Brion’s first foray into scoring for animation (previously having only worked on live action films) and along with the announcement, Brion noted, “I’ve been waiting for the right animation project for some time now. This production and the people at LAIKA and Focus have an inspiring amount of heart. One can’t help being swept up in the passion.”

When making the announcement of Brion's involvement in the film last week, LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight stated:

"Jon Brion is so prodigiously gifted it's almost unseemly. His virtuoso compositions are at once moody and imaginative, clever and subtle. Jon's inventive, genre-defying musical storytelling will provide the perfect accompaniment to PARANORMAN's groundbreaking visuals and emotionally resonant narrative."

Scoring for an animated feature is a much different undertaking than that of scoring a feature film (as stated by WALL-E composer Mychael Danna during the LA Film Festival composer panel last weekend) because it does not allow for the same pauses and space that live action can give when conveying mood. Danna explained that a mood that can be conveyed in a live action film over the span of five minutes whereas in animation, that mood will last for a mere five seconds. As both an experienced musician, songwriter, and composer in his own right, Brion should have no problem jumping into this slightly different format and I am excited to hear what he comes up with.

Do you think there is a difference between animated and live action scores? Do you prefer scores created for animation over those created for live action features?

Source Press Release

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