- Neil Gaiman has denied rumors of a Coraline live-action movie, but a remastered version of Coraline is now in theaters.
- A reboot of Coraline with a star-studded cast could be a sleeper hit, blending horror and humor in a stunning take on the stop-motion fairytale.
- The author suggests Vivien Lyra Blair, Angelina Jolie, Randall Park, Keith David, Chase Dillon, Jamie Clayton, Mason Alexander Park, and Sacha Baron Cohen for key roles in a live-action Coraline adaptation.
As of now, Neil Gaiman has dispelled rumors of a Coraline live-action movie, but a remastered version of Coraline has hit theaters, and there are many actors who would be perfect if a reboot of the beloved animated film ever got made. Coraline follows its titular heroine as she adjusts to her new country home, where her parents’ busy lives fixing up the house give her ample time to get into mischief. One day, she stumbles on a door to another world that seems to mirror her own, populated by “Other” versions of everyone in her life, from her mother and father to her friend Wybie and her neighbors.
At first, Coraline spends all her time there because Other Father and Other Mother let her do whatever she can’t at home, but eventually, Other Mother’s possessiveness of Coraline turns her fantasy into a nightmare. While Coraline is confused for a Tim Burton movie, it combined horror, humor, and beautiful stop-motion to deliver a fairytale that was not only gorgeous to look at but as frightening as it was heart-warming. With Disney doing so many live-action versions of their classic cartoons, a revival of Coraline could be a sleeper hit, particularly with this group of established A-list performers and rising stars.
8 Coraline – Vivien Lyra Blair
Coraline is about eleven years old in the film, and despite her intrepid spirit, doesn’t quite understand the consequences of her actions in the Other place. In the 2009 animated film, a 13-year-old Dakota Fanning (who had a knack for coming across as very mature from a young age) perfectly nailed Coraline’s coming-of-age journey. In a live-action Coraline, Vivien Lyra Blair would epitomize Coraline’s spunkiness and bravery and even be the same age as the blue-haired heroine, so she could continue in the role if a Caroline 2 ever happens.
Vivien Lyra Blair came to the public’s attention when she played a young Princess Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi, somehow managing to evoke Carrie Fisher’s older performance of the beloved character in other Star Wars movies while also making it her own. No stranger to the horror genre, she acted alongside Sandra Bullock in The Birdbox and was recently seen in The Boogeyman, where she valiantly helped save her family from a childhood monster. She has a commanding screen presence for such a young actress and it’s high time she carries a film.
7 Mel Jones/Other Mother/Beldam – Angelina Jolie
The complicated role of Mel Jones/Other Mother/Beldam requires a performer who can go from sweet to scary with a single look and eventually become Coraline’s villain. Given that she played a secret agent masquerading as a homemaker in Mr. and Mrs. Smith Angelina Jolie has what it takes to play dual parts and make them seem like distinct characters, but the role that really prepared her for easily moving between a loving mother, her creepy alter-ego, and a monster was in Maleficent. There’s no doubt Jolie made an excellent embodiment of the Mistress of all Evil, but few were expecting the nuance she brought to Disney’s live-action villain.
Jolie has been spending more time behind the camera these days producing and directing films, but with no script yet for Maleficent 3, a live-action Coraline would be the perfect role for her to return to the screen. The role is similar enough to parts she’s already played, while also offering a real challenge. Not to mention it would be a film that she could easily share with her own children, which is why she made Maleficent in the first place.
6 Charlie Jones/Other Father – Randall Park
For Charlie Jones/Other Father, it’s important to cast someone who can be both convincing as a clueless dad making dad jokes and one who’s trying to be cool. Randall Park can straddle that line between being smart and goofy, and would make a great pairing with Jolie, both as her hapless husband and Coraline’s funny dad. Not only that, but when Other Mother turns into The Beldam, Other Father becomes her right-hand minion, trying to cut off Coraline’s escape, which would give Park the opportunity to be a little more nefarious than he’s been seen so far.
Park has mostly appeared in comedies like Fresh off the Boat and Always Be My Maybe, but he’s also made waves in the MCU with WandaVision in a more serious role. Watching him play Jim Halpert’s replacement on The Office dubbed “Asian Jim” is a great sneak peek at what he’d be like as Charlie and Other Father. After his directorial debut, Shortcomings was so well-received in 2023, however, he may not want to get back in front of the camera just yet.
5 Cat – Keith David
Cat, Coraline’s guide in the Other world, was voiced by the irrepressible Keith David in the original Coraline, and since the character will probably be a combination of a live-action and CGI cat, there’s no reason why David can’t return to play the part again. Since his very first film role in John Carpenter’s sci-fi masterpiece The Thing, David has done plenty of movies that combine terror and supernatural surprises and always add something unique. His voice-acting credits are formidable, including providing the tremulous voice for Spawn on Max, but his performance as Cat is what makes Coraline one of the best stop-motion movies.
4 Wybie – Chase Dillon
Wybie is Coraline’s neighbor and one of the few friends that she has when she moves to the new house. Intelligent, kind, and curious, Wybie manages to get past Coraline’s prickly exterior in order to join her on her adventures, and he ends up being one of the few allies she has after going to the Other world. Relative newcomer Chase Dillon would be perfect as Coraline’s partner-in-crime, particularly since he’s familiar with the spooky genre.
Dillon just stole Haunted Mansion out from under a talented cast of adult actors, proving he has what it takes to appear in a gothic fantasy that will no doubt have similar visual effects. It can be hard for young actors to react to things they can’t see, but Dillon made everything believable no matter how over-the-top. Dillon is a rising star whose career will really be elevated by appearing in a beloved live-action adaptation like Coraline.
3 Miriam Forcible – Jamie Clayton
Tall, elegant, and bubbly, Miriam Forcible was once a renowned burlesque performer along with her partner Miss Spink. They both live in the bottom of the Pink Palace reminiscing about their glory days with Coraline and bickering lovingly with one another. Miss Forcible craves attention and constantly argues with April in order to cast the spotlight on herself.
Jamie Clayton, who appeared as Pinhead in the recent remake of Hellraiser, would make a delightful Miss Forcible. Not only could she pull off her statuesque beauty, but she would do her credit in the flashback sequences in her elaborate stage costumes. After Sense8 and Designated Survivor it would be a different sort of part for Clayton, but one that would make use of her ability to exude both poise and gravitas.
2 April Spink – Mason Alexander Park
Like her partner Miss Forcible, April Spink was also once a burlesque dancer who eventually retired and shares the basement apartment of the Pink Palace with Miriam. The more intelligent of the pair, she has a keen knowledge of magic and the Other world. She takes an affectionate shine to Coraline and tries to teach her useful things for handling the Other Mother.
Mason Alexander Park was recently seen portraying Desire in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and would know their way around a colorful part like April Spink. Their stagework not only would make them a natural in Miss Spink’s fabulous outfits, but they would also get to impart wisdom and advice with their signature sarcastic delivery. Sticking to genre television currently, they can be seen in the revival of Quantum Leap on NBC.
1 Mr. Bobinsky – Sacha Baron Cohen
Mr. Bobinsky is Coraline’s Russian neighbor who lives above Miss Spink and Miss Forcible in the Pink Palace Apartments. As eccentric and free-spirited as the pair he often visits, he befriends Coraline by showing her his mice circus. Though it’s difficult to understand his diatribes as he drones on, there are important pieces of information about the Other world and the Other Mother hidden in every peculiar thing he says.
It’s difficult not to think of Sacha Baron Cohen whenever Mr. Bobinsky is on-screen, particularly his character from Sweeney Todd. He’s also a welcome and amusing presence in any ensemble film, particularly with fantasy elements like Hugo. He’s currently interested in bringing back his other comedy personas like Ali G, but Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline could benefit from an injection of his particular energy.