Why did you decide to make Coraline in 3-D?
When I directed The Nightmare Before Christmas for Tim Burton, a few hobbyists would take 3-D stills [of the set]. We’d look at them and feel like we weren’t really sharing the full experience with the audience. Stop-motion is all real stuff — real puppets and textures and miniature trees and all that — and it wasn’t all getting on the screen in 2-D.
What was the hardest sequence to film?
When Coraline sees a garden brought to life, it was a challenge just to figure out how to get flowers to grow and not use CG. And the final confrontation between Coraline and the Other Mother, who in her final form is a spider witch. There’s a web that’s springy and moving and a helluva challenge to design.
There’s a buxom character voiced by Dawn French who performs on stage in just a bikini bottom and elaborate, um, pasties. What led to that choice?
Well, she’s reenacting a famous work of art, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. She had to wear the appropriate costume! Some people were concerned about that scene, but ultimately the ratings board had no problem at all. You know, it’s not going to corrupt anyone’s morals or anything. It’s just funny.