There have been a lot of great stop-motion movies released over the years like Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, to name only a few. Henry Selick, the director of those three movies, and several others, has a new animated film called Wendell & Wild that is now streaming on Netflix. The new animated movie looks, feels, and sounds a whole lot like his previous works thanks in part to its story, animation style, and the talented voice cast. Speaking of which…
If you have watched the movie, or at least plan on checking it out, there’s a good chance you are wondering where you’ve seen and heard the Wendell & Wild cast before. Well, no need to go digging through graves or summoning demons, because we have a breakdown of the stars and some of their biggest on-screen accomplishments prior to appearing in what looks like one of the most unique 2022 movies…
Keegan-Michael Key (Wendell)
Before we dive into Kat Elliot and the actress who is bringing the magically-inclined 13-year-old to life, let’s first talk about the two titular characters featured prominently in the film's trailer. The first of those characters, Wendell, is voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, one half of the team behind the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele.
Key has a great deal of experience as a voice actor that he brings to the Wendell & Wild cast, including multiple appearances in the Hotel Transylvania movies, roles in Disney productions like Toy Story 4, The Lion King (the 2019 remake), Pinocchio, and Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers, to name only a few. He’s also no stranger to Netflix movies as he appeared in Dolemite Is My Name, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, The Prom, and The Bubble in the past few years.
Jordan Peele (Wild)
Also voicing a prominent role is Jordan Peele, who made a name for himself in the comedy world with his longtime creative partner Keegan-Michael Key on sketch programs like Mad TV and then Key & Peele, among others. In the new movie, Peele provides the voice of Wild, the second demon brother who tries to make a deal with the film’s young heroine.
Though he has cut back on acting gigs the past few years to pursue behind-the-scenes roles with his incredible horror movies like the Academy Award-winning Get Out, Us, and Nope, Peele has a great number of live-action and voice performances to his name. There are titles like Keanu (which he co-wrote), Storks, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, and shows like Bob’s Burgers, Big Mouth, and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, to name just a few.
Lyric Ross (Kat Elliot)
Providing the voice for Kat Elliot, the precocious 13-year-old girl at the center of Wendell & Wild’s story, is Lyric Ross, who has been a part of some of the biggest shows on broadcast TV the past few years, with more on the way.
Prior to landing a starring role in the new Netflix animated feature, Ross was cast as Deja Pearson on the long-running NBC drama series, This Is Us, first as a recurring character and then as one of the main figures in the final few seasons. Ross also appeared on Chicago Fire and Sirens in the years leading up to her first steady job. She is next to set to appear on Ironheart, though her exact role on the upcoming Marvel series has yet to be revealed
Angela Bassett (Sister Helley)
Taking on the role of Sister Helley, one of nuns at Kat’s school, is none other than Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett, who is no stranger to the world of voice-acting.
The list of Bassett’s best movies includes What’s Love Got to Do with It, Waiting to Exhale, Black Panther, Mission: Impossible — Fallout, and many, many more. In addition to all of those live-action roles, Bassett has lent her voice to a number of animated film projects over the past few decades, including the 2020 Pixar movie, Soul, Meet the Robinsons, Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle, and Our Friend, Martin. She’s also participated in animated TV series like BoJack Horseman, The Simpsons, and What If…?, in which she reprised the role of Ramonda, the Queen Mother of Wakanda. She’ll once again take on the role in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
James Hong (Father Bests)
The legendary James Hong shows up in Wendell & Wild as Father Bests, the priest at Kat’s school who is equally devoted to his students and keeping the institution up and running.
Throughout his career, which goes back to the mid-1950s, Hong has appeared in hundreds of films ranging from cult classics like Big Trouble in Little China and Blade Runner, to animated projects like Mulan, Jackie Chan Adventures, and the Kung Fu Panda movies and TV spin-offs. In the past few years, Hong has popped up in titles like Everything Everywhere All At Once, Turning Red, Star Wars: Visions, and much, much more.
Ving Rhames (Buffalo Belzer)
Ving Rhames, the voice of Arby’s who's been in dozens upon dozens of iconic movies, joins the cast as Buffalo Belzer, a prominent figure in the movie’s underworld.
Throughout his career, Rhames has been a staple of the Mission: Impossible film franchise, given commanding performances in movies like Pulp Fiction, Con-Air, Bringing out the Dead, Dave, and Don King: Only in America, which earned him a Golden Globe in 1998. Like much of the Wendell & Wild cast, Rhames has a great deal of experience in the realm of animation, with voice roles in Lilo & Stitch, The Proud Family, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and several others.
Sam Zelaya (Raúl)
And then there is Sam Zelaya, who takes on the role of Raúl, an outcast at Kat’s school. Prior to landing a role in the new movie, Zelaya’s only acting credit was in the 2022 soap opera short film, Poppets.
This is just the main portion of the Wendell & Wild cast, as there are all sort of surprises that await in the stop-motion animation movie.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.