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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

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.

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