Henry Selick claims the former chief creative officer of Pixar John Lasseter is responsible for the cancelation of his planned stop-motion animation film The Shadow King.
Selick made this revelation during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
According to Selick, Pixar screened his first stop-motion film, Coraline, which led to an offer to work on a stop-motion film.
Pixar announced they had hired Selick to develop The Shadow King in 2009 for the studio's first fantasy stop-motion film. The film was about a boy who could craft shadows to fight monsters with his very long fingers. Unfortunately, Lasseter and the team at Pixar wouldn’t stop interfering with the project until the budget bloated up and they had to cancel it.
In Selick's words:
They [Pixar] rip things apart, they rebuild, rip things apart, rebuild. [Lasseter] really couldn’t support my vision. He thought he could make it better. And so we kept changing and changing and changing. Basically, John Lasseter couldn’t help himself. He tried to Disney-fy it until the budget went through the roof. It got shut down, and I was kind of down, I wasn’t sure I was going to make another movie again. But then the ‘Key & Peele’ show started on Comedy Central, and it was Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele who kind of inspired me to do another film.
Stop-motion animation is a labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive process. Still, Laika, the studio that produced Coraline has continued to make stop-motion feature films.
Selick’s new stop-motion feature film Wendell & Wild, a horror comedy movie, premiered at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim. The film marks his return as a director after 2009's Coraline. It's based on a screenplay by Selick and Jordan Peele that'll feature Peele and Keagan-Michael Key as two demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, who come up with a scheme to appear in the Land of Living. Apart from Peele and Key, the film also stars Angela Bassett, Lyric Ross, James Hong, and Ving Rhames.
Before The Shadow King was canceled, production had already started. Leaked footage of the film has confirmed this. Given the reception that the director’s new film got, there is a high chance it could be revived.
Wendell & Wild was released on Netflix on October 21.