Why ParaNorman Featured the First Gay Character in an Animated Film

The right-wing said this animated story of a bullied kid, a pack of zombies, and an ancient curse was part of the secret gay agenda. So we asked the movie's creators what they have to say for themselves.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

November 29 2012 6:00 AM ET

Although with stop-motion animation, it seems like it’s much more work.
Fell: I don’t think it is. It’s a different kind of work in many ways. Both our medium and CG animation take about the same amount of time. We do get some things for free that CG really struggles to do. We build our costumes and our puppets and our sets, and we put normal real light on them, and we film them with decent but not super-expensive cameras. We have this  amazing effect of real photography. And it’s something that CG movies spend gazillion of dollars trying to emulate.

Butler: I think also, when you look at the production of a CG movie, you’re going to see rooms full of people sitting at computer screens. When you look at the process that we’re involved with, we’ve got a warehouse full of craftspeople and artists and artisans who are building things with their hands. It’s like a flurry of activity — it’s like Santa’s Workshop. I think that’s what makes it look like it’s so much more labor intensive. But in fact, all these things are not easy. Any animated movie takes a huge amount of work and time.

With all that kind of craftsmanship that goes into this kind of film, does that mean as directors, you get your hands a little more involved in things like costume design?
Butler: Yeah, you’re literally in the film. Everyday, you walk around, and you’re inside the movie. You look to your left there’s the next set being painted and you look to your right, there’s a bunch of wigs being developed for a new character, so you’re completely immersed in its.

Fell: There’s something liberating as a director to actually point at an object you’re talking about, rather than just pointing the finger at a screen.

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