Whether you read Neil Gaiman’s novel or watched the animated adaptation, many of us experienced the childhood horror of Coraline. It was a moment that caused a massive divide between a generation; half of us were scared to death, and the other half exhilarated. No matter what your reaction was, it’s a story that sticks with you. Themes of family, yearning, and an idealized world that isn’t what you think make Coraline unforgettable.
The animated film was released in 2009, beloved from its opening weekend. Coraline, as a character, is similar to how so many of us have felt before. She wants her parents’ attention and has to entertain herself in an unfamiliar place. The appeal of the Other World is apparent, yet obviously too good to be true. Audiences root for Coraline to just get her happy ending. All the characters are dynamic and fun, and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat.
As Hollywood is in the age of live-action remakes and spinoffs, I think it’s worth considering a new adaptation of this iconic story. The imagery and setting would be captivating in real life. It would be introduced to a new generation in a new way, making it fresh while still maintaining the symbolic essence of the original. To spark further conversation, here are things I would love to see in the updated adaptation.
Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Coraline
A live-action is only as good as its cast. Searching for an actress for Coraline would not be an easy feat, yet personally, I think Aubrey Anderson-Emmons would be a perfect fit. Known for her work on Modern Family, Emmons encapsulates the innocent wonder of Coraline to a T. Her character in Modern Family, Lily, is sassy, vibrant, and authentic, matching Coraline’s character as well. I think she would do a really great job bringing Coraline to life and expanding her story further.
Tim Burton as the Director
In my opinion, the only director that could truly bring this vivacious vision to life is Tim Burton. Both his live-action and animated films are distinct, captivating, and full of wonder, perfectly epitomizing the story of Coraline. All of his work connects visuals to thematic elements, which is really important in a film that includes so many clues and Easter eggs in the setting. To me, Coraline is reminiscent of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, another book-to-film adaptation that also includes a sort of parallel universe in which the protagonist has to save. Burton could do a lot with the Other World, making it magical and striking but also sinister and nerve-wracking.
Alexandre Desplat as the Composer
Coraline is haunting, melancholic, yet still lively. Alexandre Desplat is a great consideration for composing the film’s score. Bruno Coulais did the music for the 2009 animation and did an incredible job creating the musical experience. However, I think it’s fair to say a live-action remake deserves a new soundtrack.
Desplat has done notable work for films like Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. He is capable of writing a score that perfectly reflects a character’s feelings at any given scene and transporting the audience into their world. For a film as imaginative as Coraline, I think his music would complement well.
A Darker Fantasy Horror Aesthetic
Even if many were terrified of the animated movie, the original Coraline novella by Neil Gaiman is, in fact, much worse. To help make the live-action film differ from the initial animation, I think it’s worth making the story a bit more similar to its novella form. If we have Tim Burton’s direction, Coraline could easily become a fantasy horror hit. This would stray away from the children’s movie genre. However, can Coraline really be considered a children’s movie with how chilling it is? Even so, a dark fantasy feature film is exactly what I want to go see in theaters.
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