Though now a superstar as a result of her hugely acclaimed role on "Desperate Housewives," Terri Hatcher's name was always familiar to fans of genre fiction, from guest roles on "Quantum Leap" to "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Tales From The Crypt." And of course, the actress will always be remembered for her role as Superman's true love in the 1993 television show "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman." In 2004, Hatcher was nominated for an Emmy and won a Screen Actor's Guild Award for her role as Susan Mayer on "Desperate Housewives." This Friday, fans can catch Hatcher as she takes a turn in animation, portraying Coraline's mother - among other roles -- in "Coraline," the new Henry Selick film based on the book by Neil Gaiman.
"I think when anything is done well it's worthwhile, and I think 'Coraline' is an example of a great collaboration with Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick and eight years' worth of incredibly hard work by hundreds of masterful artists to bring this to life," Hatcher told CBR. "So it's really an honor to be a part of it."
Hatcher was asked by Selick to participate in the high anticipated film. "I was a huge fan of Henry's from the beginning, my daughter and I are big 'Nightmare Before Christmas' fans and I was very intrigued with the idea of playing three different roles in the same movie," the actress recalled. "I've always wanted to do an animated film and feel real lucky to be a part of one that ends up with such depth and really masterful artistry."
One of the allures of the film for Hatcher was its nature as a movie her eleven-year-old daughter could see. "She has seen it twice," Hatcher said. "She loved it, as did all her friends. I think that was why [animation] was on my list. But I think the fact that this film resonates so deeply thematically with the classic fairytale version of 'the grass is always greener,' and also issues with families losing themselves and finding each other; I think it's important more then just being another animated film."
Hatcher plays two characters in the film, though she sees it as actually playing three: Coraline's real mother, her Other Mother, and the evil side of the Other Mother that comes out later in the film. "[Coraline's mother is], in a very relatable way, overworked and spent and exhausted and just doesn't have the patience or energy to give her daughter the attention she really deserves," Hatcher explained. "Not out of meanness but out of necessity of being just exhausted and so, in that way, she is somewhat neglectful and a little bit over it; [while] the Other Mother is just effortlessly able to bring every wish and dream that Coraline would have ever wanted manifest for her."
But everything is not exactly as it seems. The Other Mother hasn't been completely honest with Coraline. "It turns out that [it] comes with a price, which is really Coraline's soul," Hatcher said. "This Other Mother really turns out to be a monster that ends up very [angry] and desperately disappointed that Coraline has rejected her, and so she is a very bad, creepy woman."
Going into the voiceover process, Hatcher didn't see know exactly what her characters would look like until she saw them on the big screen. "I didn't really animate my voice to anything other then sketches," she said. "A couple of years into it, I was able to go up to Portland, to the animation studios, and I saw some more of the sculpting and some of it then. But really, the voice work came more out of the direction Henry wanted for those characters and my imagination of who those women needed to be."
"Coraline" hits theatres this Friday, February 6. Don't forget to check back with CBR News tomorrow, when we speak with director Henry Selick.