Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele keep popping up in all sorts of places now that their eponymous comedy show has come to a close. Their latest project features the comedic duo teaming up with acclaimed animation director Henry Selick for a stop-motion animated movie based on an original idea from Selick. The trio is currently engaging in creative discussions although no buyer is in place just yet.
As Variety reports, Selick, Key, and Peele will team up for Wendell and Wild, an animated 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,” in Selick’s words. The project is a reflection of his attraction to dark and twisted tales, as can be seen in his filmography which includes The Nightmare before Christmas and Coraline. Selick will co-write Wendell and Wild with Peele, and will also be directing and producing the picture.
While Selick is obviously well versed in the world of animation, Key and Peele aren’t exactly strangers. Both have performed a number of voice-acting roles including characters on Bob’s Burgers, and Key has roles in both The Angry Birds Movie and Supermansion. The duo is currently at work on bringing about an animated series based on their Critiquer’s Corner characters “Vandaveon and Mike.”
Selick also has a few other projects in the works, including another collaboration with Coraline author Neil Gaiman. He’s also looking to resume his work on directing an adaptation of Adam Gidwitz’s “A Tale Dark and Grimm” for FilmNation; the project was paused due to an illness in Selick’s family. Though Selick spent a good amount of time – two years, all told – on his original story The Shadow King at Disney after Coraline, the studio opted to pass on it. Selick describes it as follows:
“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.”
Further explaining his propensity for darker material, Selick elaborated:
“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.”
Hopefully as studios and audiences go darker, it will further open up the doors to creatives like Selick who thrive within the shadows.