Keegan-Michael Key talks about his return to work with his longtime comedy partner Jordan Peele for their upcoming stop-motion fantasy movie Wendell & Wild. The feature will launch with a PG-13 rating, which is a rarity for animated films of this scale. Wendell & Wild coming just in time for Halloween, streaming on Netflix starting October 28.
Key and Peele will voice the titular characters, two demons determined to escape the underworld by exploiting a cursed but powerful 13-year-old girl named Kat (Lyric Ross). The rest of the Wendell & Wild cast is led by Angela Basset as Sister Helley, a nun who is aware of Kat’s abilities and fears for her. Ving Rhames and James Hong round out the veteran talent, while the rest of the cast features new, young actors, including Ramona Young, Tamara Smart and Sam Zelaya. The project is supported by director Henry Selick, who established his style as a mix of horror and comedy with his 2009 film Coraline.
Key now talks to EW on reviving the chemistry he had with Peele during their five-season run as headliner of the still-adored sketch show Key and Peele. It’s been 7 years since the final Key and Peele episode aired, and the two have teamed up several times since, as two of the hyenas in the remake of The lionking and each plays a toy Toy Story 4. However, Key explains that the two have shared life experiences that transcend work. Read Key’s full comments below:
“It’s like having a dance partner for years and years and years. You come back, learn a new routine, but then you know you’re not going to do the routine in five months… It’s that ride-a-bike feeling …When you spend that much time with someone, especially a person you used to live with – we lived together for 4 months when we started our careers together on Mad TV – there is a real connection and there are times when it becomes downright symbiotic. It was just locking those pieces back together.”
Wendell & Wild play on Key & Peele’s strengths
The Wendell & Wild saga started as a book written by Selick that was never printed. With the project being updated, Peele is on board not only as a voice actor, but also as a writer and producer. He will bring his experience as the horror movie director who brought the era-defining movies Out, U.Sand no to life. Likewise, Peele has experience in high-flying animation; he is one of the original minds behind the hit Big mouth. His experience in both animated comedy and horror will no doubt play a part in this film, which conjures up a mix of both in the official trailer of Wendell & Wild.
For his part, Key has had success as the comedic relief on live-action dramas, starring Friends of the university and the new series Restart. However, as Key pointed out in his comments, he and Peele have such a well-established history that the two work best when parrying with each other. Selick once explained that Key and Peele would spend hours in the studio, chumming and improvising while in character as the demon brothers. Wendell & Wild appears to be a cross-genre, multi-medium Halloween hit, and could step up as the next animated classic produced in-house by Netflix.
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