Jordan Peele Thought Get Out Would Kill New Henry Selick Wendell & Wild Movie
Given how long it takes to make a stop-motion movie — and how long it takes to persuade a studio to produce one — it’s no surprise that stop-motion specialist Henry Selick disappeared for a while. years between projects. The director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, monkey-boneand James and the giant peach has passed the years since its adaptation of Neil Gaiman in 2009 Coraline on a variety of stop-motion projects that have been shelved or shelved. But Netflix announced on Tuesday that its latest long-gestating project, the stop-motion animated film Wendell and savagewill debut on the streaming service on October 28.
Wendell and savage features the voices of longtime comedy partners Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Wendell and Wild, a pair of low-level demon brothers who live and work in a theme park-style hell that exists entirely on the belly of a much larger demon (voiced by Ving Rhames). Wendell and Wild dream of creating their own theme park in the mortal world. So they team up with 13-year-old Kat (Lyric Ross), a troubled orphan with the ability to summon demons.
During a visit to Wendell and savage In April, Polygon learned that the idea for the film came to Selick through his children. “Wendell and savage started as a short story I wrote many years ago, inspired by my sons, who are now adults,” he says. “When they were little I made a picture of them as demons. They were a bit demonic sometimes. And I wrote a story about it and shared it with some people, but then I I put it aside.
Years later, Selick shares, he’s become a fan of the sketch comedy series Key and Peele. “I was so impressed with their work,” he says. “I just said, What the hell, I’ll reach out. They probably don’t know who I am. But I wanted to work with them. I’m not known for comedy in my movies, [though] I think there are always comedic elements. But I really had this desire [to work] with them and bring what they do into a project I’m on.
He says Key and Peele were interested in a joint project, and Jordan Peele in particular wanted to meet and collaborate. Among the ideas Selick conjured up was the short story about the two demon brothers. “It looked like a Key and Peele sketch, almost, that they could be these brothers and sisters who are demons, but who have very human weaknesses and desires. So I shared my pages and talked about it, and he got really excited and basically said, “I want to be creatively involved.” I would like to be a producer.’ He had just started his new business, Monkeypaw. And that’s really the genesis of the project.
Selick says he originated the story’s basic characters, but that Peele “added all kinds of great things to the characters in the story,” especially shaping Kat, a black girl who finds herself in the juvenile justice system for acting after his parents. die. With the first shots and character designs for the film in place, he and Peele were ready to pitch it to production studios. But Selick says he had to talk Peele out of his anxiety over the premiere of Peele’s debut film, the 2017 horror thriller get out.
“Two weeks before his first feature film, get outwas going to go out, he said [highly agitated Jordan Peele impression] “We have to go out and launch now! We gotta get out now, ’cause what if get out‘is a failure?’ I said, ‘Listen, listen, you’re too nervous to do this. You just gotta trust it’s gonna work.’”
Selick says he knew Wendell and savage was going to be a quirky and unique project. “We weren’t going to plant it everywhere. Just a handful of places. Netflix being the number one place we think would give us creative support for something unusual, and it would also support a stop-motion movie, because stop-motion has always been the son-in-law of animation industry.
As Selick notes, his medium is a harder sell based on profitability. Studios like Portland’s Laika – which produced Selick’s Coraline and specializes in stop-motion movies like Kubo and the two ropes — are extremely rare. They also don’t have the kind of marketing budget and reach that helps CG films from majors like Disney, Pixar, and Illumination reach billions of dollars in paydays worldwide. (However, Coraline earned around $125 million in 2009 – respectable for a small animated film, but not Disney-level money.)
But Selick says having an ally in Peele helped, especially considering how Peele’s anxiety over his own first movie ultimately paid off: “So what get out is this amazing success, because it’s such a great movie. And then suddenly, all the doors are open.
Wendell and savage will premiere on Netflix on October 28.