Now, how’s this for a strange yet intriguing collaboration?
Variety recently reported that the comedic superstar duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, known together as Key & Peele, are joining forces with famed stop-motion filmmaker Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) for a stop-motion animated project titled Wendell and Wild.
Based on an original story by Selick, here’s the premise of the film (directly from Selick himself):
“‘Wendell and Wild’ is a comedy about two scheming demon brothers who must face their arch-nemesis, the demon-dusting nun Sister Helly, and her two acolytes, the goth teens Kat and Raoul.”
Based on this alone, Wendell and Wild is exactly the type of film you would expect Henry Selick to make, but the addition of Key & Peele, known for their unique brand of topical humor, should give the film a different kind of energy and edge.
As of right now, Selick, Key, and Peele are currently discussing the creative details and searching for a distribution partner. “It is not set up yet with a buyer, but the entire team is passionate about the direction,” Selick says.
Henry Selick will produce and direct the film from a screenplay by Selick and Peele. Gotham Group will produce with Principato Young Entertainment.
Key & Peele are no strangers to animation. Both men have voiced characters on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers, while Key will voice a character in next year’s The Angry Birds Movie. Last year, the duo had announced plans to develop an animated series for Comedy Central based on ‘Vandaveon & Mike’, two characters from their “Critiquer’s Corner” series of YouTube commentaries on episodes of Key & Peele.
Wendell and Wild is just one of several projects on Henry’s plate as he returns to being more active as a director. He’s also working on a secret project with Neil Gaiman (his second collaboration with him after Coraline) and is trying to get his adaptation of Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark & Grimm up and going after postponing the project to tend to his mother after she became ill.
This is all after his Disney project, titled The Shadow King, failed to take off. “Originally much darker, it became the story of a shy boy who learns to use his ridiculously long fingers to make living hand shadows and ultimately save his jealous brother from a shadow monster,” explains Selick.
Remember what I said above about Wendell & Wild being his kind of film? Apparently I wasn’t exaggerating, as Selick himself admits to being drawn by dark, twisted stories. “We are who we are,” he says. “Charles Addams’ cartoons, the original ‘Twilight Zone’ series, Ray Harryhausen’s stop-mo monsters, Disney’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain,’ Charles Laughton’s ‘The Night of the Hunter,’ the original ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ – these were the things that caught and held my attention as a kid. Used to be what I liked was a small percentage of what was being made. These days, everything is dark, darker, darkest.”
If that’s the case, then it makes sense that he’s deciding to be active now. Animated horror is still a rarity in animation, but LAIKA has built its current repertoire on stories that were darker than the usual fare (although Kubo and the Two Strings will break from that Gothic-horror formula a little bit). Also, stop-motion is still a niche medium that doesn’t get much attention outside of offerings from LAIKA and Aardman, so fans of the medium will no doubt be ecstatic to have one of its masters back in action.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to Wendell and Wild?
Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden