“Wendell & Wild” premieres on Netflix Oct. 28 and stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.

PORTLAND, Oregon — A new movie featuring the work of Portland stop-motion animators is about to drop, just in time for Halloween.

Wendell & Wild” is both a comedy and a horror film with some big-name actors, including Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Director Henry Selick (“Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Coraline”), co-wrote the film with Peele. He also put together his own Portland stop-animation studio just for the Netflix original.

“It was a blast,” said co-animation supervisor Malcom Lamont. “I think that everyone really felt like they were doing something really special, particularly because it was a one-off film and Henry doesn’t do films very often — ‘Coraline’ was a little while ago.”

“Coraline” was the first feature film made by Hillsboro-based stop-animation juggernaut Laika Studios. Lamont and co-animation supervisor Jeff Riley used to work for Laika, which is not affiliated with “Wendell & Wild.” Both men live in Portland.

“That [Portland] has become such a center of stop-motion is a great thing,” Riley said.

According to filmmakers, “Wendell & Wild” took 3 1/2 years to produce, about 18 months longer than planned because of the pandemic. The crew is grateful that Netflix stuck with them despite adversity.

“The story itself has a lot of really contemporary social issues that I think a lot of family films haven’t fully embraced yet,” Lamont said. “I think that’s thanks to Jordan Peele.”

Besides the pandemic, the movie faced other big production threats, including the wildfires of 2020 which came dangerously close to their Milwaukie animation studio.

“We had to evacuate and rescue the puppets from the studio,” Riley said. “We also had an active shooter incident in our parking lot where we were all stuck in the building for a while, and during one of the heat waves the roof started melting and everyone had to go home. There was nothing that was going to stop us from making this movie.”

“Wendell & Wild” premieres on Netflix on Oct. 28. It will also be showing at the Hollywood Theater in Northeast Portland starting Oct. 21.

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