Review: Henry Selick and Jordan Peele collaborate for rewarding and offbeat ‘Wendell & Wild’
Director Henry Selick made a point of never turning his back on a challenge, and his third collaboration with Jordan Peele is no exception, a movie about a boy with an improbable family.
“Jordan is an artist and he has a genius for doing what needs to be done,” says Selick, whose career has been defined by one of the most ambitious and high-concept films of the last 25 years. “Jordan loves the idea of making movies, and that makes me feel like it’s a collaboration, as opposed to just a me and Jordan doing it.”
Peele, a two-time Oscar nominee for his work on (and co-executive music composition and orchestrations for) Selick’s feature debut “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” has often been compared to director Wes Anderson, who, Selick says, “makes movies about movies.” Indeed, the thematic DNA of “Wendell & Wild” is Andersonian—the family’s lives intersect and intersect again, in a way that’s unpredictable—but it also works as another sort of family. In fact, some of the most striking elements of Peele’s characteristically distinctive work: He’s an outsider, a straight man, a prankster, and he’s a great raconteur.
Wendell Peele as Elijah Jacob Smith Jr., in “Wendell & Wild.”
“I really like the idea of Jordan being an outsider,” Selick continues. “I also like that Jordan is also an outsider, because it shows he doesn’t really fit in our culture. Because being a child of color, he’s always been an outsider. That was something he had to figure out on his own, which gives his character a lot of personality. He’s not like white people; he’s not like black people.”
The movie is a true collaboration: Selick and Peele are equal co-executive producers, with Selick contributing to the