We had the chance to chat with two legends, “Wendell & Wild” director Henry Selick and actor James Hong. Selick is a titan of stop-motion, having directed “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Coraline.” His latest endeavor has him collaborating with Jordan Peele and is based on an original story by Selick.
Meanwhile Hong voices Father Bests, the headmaster of a local school. If you don’t visually recognize Hong you certainly know his voice. He has over 650 credits to his name and has 5 projects this year alone (including “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and the upcoming “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai”). A co-founder of the East West Players, Hong has been an advocate for AAPI representation on stage and screen.
We chatted to Selick about musical influences, bringing Peele into the process, the diversity of the cast, and lessons learned since “Coraline.” Hong spoke to us about his illustrious career, the misunderstood parts of voice acting, and what he still hopes to accomplish in his career.
“Wendell & Wild” is an animated tale about scheming demon brothers Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Peele), who enlist the aid of Kat Elliot — a tough teen with a load of guilt — to summon them to the Land of the Living. But what Kat demands in return leads to a brilliantly bizarre and comedic adventure like no other, an animated fantasy that defies the law of life and death, all told through the handmade artistry of stop motion.
The film also stars: Lyric Ross, Angela Bassett, James Hong, Tamara Smart, Natalie Martinez, Tantoo Cardinal, Igal Naor, Gary Gatewood, Gabrielle Dennis, David Harewood, Maxine Peake, Ramona Young, Sam Zelaya, Seema Virdi, and Ving Rhames.
“Wendell & Wild” is out streaming now on Netflix.