It’s all about the love in a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Henry Selick’s return to the world of stop-motion film with Wendell & Wild. Joining the legendary director are the film’s stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who play the titular demon brothers, respectively. The opening moments of the clip center around how thrilled Key and Peele were to work with the Coraline director and vice versa, with Selick referring to the pair as “the funniest comedy duo [he’d] seen in [his] lifetime”. Selick and Peele also co-penned the screenplay, something the latter was incredibly thrilled to do as Selick’s self-proclaimed “biggest fan,” with Key commenting that the final draft was a “very focused, passionate piece of art”.
As for the physical creation of the demon bros, we also get a look into how they were molded specifically with Key and Peele in mind. What started out as imaginative caricature portraits drawn by Pablo Lobato turned into the larger-than-life colorful puppets that play off features of both men. When it comes to their voices, Peele reveals that things just fell into place after they met their respective puppets. For those hoping for more of an insight into how some of those awe-inspiring scenes were shot, Selick joins with the film’s director of photography Peter Sorg to give us an all access pass. With this insider view, it’s easy to speculate that maybe Selick’s 13-year hiatus from making films was solely because he was exhausted by the process.
Finally, the team takes us through the musings that produced the teenager at the center of it all: Kat. As Selick points out, even though the feature is named after the demonic duo, it really focuses on the punk rock girl. Along with Lead Animator Anthony Scott and Rigging Supervisor Craig Atkinson, Selick explains how they formed some of those special moments that make up Kat’s dynamic and edgy personality. At the heart of it all, the imagining of a character like Kat is something that Peele says “would have changed [his] life early on,” adding that he “would have felt more welcome in the world”.
Praised for not only its incredible story and the tediously formed stop-motion sequences, Wendell & Wild has also garnered celebration for its comments on the prison system and the battle each person faces with their own inner demons. In the movie, Kat (Lyric Ross) tragically loses both of her parents and is forced to attend and live at a Catholic reformatory. A rebel and never without her punk rock blasting boom box, Kat’s past life is given a second chance when she befriends two demon brothers, Wendell (Key) and Wild (Peele), who are looking for a ride out of the underworld. Also in the main voice cast are Angela Bassett, James Hong, Ving Rhames, Sam Zelaya, and Tamara Smart.
Check out the behind-the-scenes creation of Wendell & Wild below and watch the entire labor of love now on Netflix.