×

Henry Selick, Key & Peele Developing Animated Feature ‘Wendell and Wild’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Henry Selick, director of stop-motion classics Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and Laika’s “Coraline,” is developing a new stop-motion feature with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key based on an original story by Selick.

“‘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,” says Selick.

Selick, Key and Peele are currently discussing the creative details, says Key & Peele’s manager Joel Zadak of Principato-Young. “It is not set up yet with a buyer, but the entire team is passionate about the direction,” he says.

Key and Peele are no strangers to animated projects, with both having done various voices on Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers” among other projects. Key will be voicing a character in the upcoming animated feature based on the game “Angry Birds” and he also voices a regular character in Stoopid Buddy Stoodio’s “SuperMansion,” which airs on Crackle. The comedy duo had been developing an animated series based on their Critiquer’s Corner characters “Vandaveon and Mike.”

Selick will co-write with Peele, and will direct and produce. Gotham will produce with Principato Young Entertainment

Popular on Variety

In addition to “Wendell and Wild,” Selick has several projects in the hopper. He’s working on a project involving author Neil Gaiman, who wrote the novel “Coraline,” which was adapted into Laika’s 2009 stop-motion film and directed by Selick. He is also hoping to direct an adaptation of Adam Gidwitz’s “A Tale Dark and Grimm” for FilmNation, which Selick said had to be put on hold when his mother became ill.

After “Coraline,” Selick spent two years developing his original story “The Shadow King” with Disney, but Disney ultimately decided not to go forward with the film. “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.

Selick is drawn to dark and twisty tales. “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.”

Selick is repped by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein.

More Film

  • The Metamorphosis of Birds

    Catarina Vasconcelos on Berlinale Encounters Closing Film, ‘The Metamorphosis of Birds’

    The closing film of the Berlinale’s new Encounters sidebar is the fictionalized documentary, “The Metamorphosis of Birds,” the debut feature from Portuguese director Catarina Vasconcelos. “Metamorphosis” explores the director’s family stories, building on elements developed in her debut 2014 short film, “Metaphor, or Sadness Inside Out,” which she filmed during her Master’s degree course in [...]

  • Way-Down

    TF1 Studio Sells Most of the World on Freddie Highmore Starrer ‘Way Down’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BERLIN — Handled by TF1 Studio, Freddie Highmore heist thriller “Way Down” has pre-sold most of the world’s key distribution territories. At Berlin, TF1 Studio licensed Latin America with Joao Worcman’s Rio de Janeiro-based Synapse Distribution, which will release the theatrical feature, directed by Jaume Balgueró (“[REC]”) in collaboration with Ledafilms. Israel (Current Flow), Thailand (Sahamongkol [...]

  • Pablo Guisa, Pablo Cruz, Enrique López

    Morbido, El Estudio Team on Massive Trans-Atlantic Genre Initiative (EXCLUSIVE)

    Trans-Atlantic Spanish-language production powerhouse El Estudio and Mexico’s Morbido Group have joined forces in the largest genre, horror and fantasy production initiative in the Spanish-speaking world. Feature films, series, remakes and reboots of classic IP and even unscripted programming are all part of the plan going forward for El Estudio and Morbido. Already, the companies [...]

  • Saudi Runaway

    Director Susanne Regina Maures on ‘Saudi Runaway’

    BERLIN —  Robert Montgomery’s “Lady in the Lake” posed the question of whether it’s possible to make a complete film from one POV and yet  create a true emotional connection with an audience if it doesn’t have a face to connect with. “Saudi Runaway” delivers a haunting POV experience via the hands of a woman, [...]

  • Abbas Kiarostami

    India’s Alliance Wraps Berlin Market With Abbas Kiarostami Package Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

    India’s Alliance Media & Entertainment is in the process of acquiring a library of works by late Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami for distribution in the Indian subcontinent from France’s MK2 Films. The deal covers 33 features, documentaries and shorts from Kiarostami’s oeuvre, including “Taste of Cherry,” “The Wind Will Carry Us” and “Where Is My [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content