‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Director Henry Selick Says It’s a ‘Little Unfair’ That Tim Burton Gets All the Credit: That’s Not What I Signed Up For

When one thinks of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the name that immediately comes to mind is most likely Tim Burton. After all, Disney marketed the movie as “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” following the director’s success with “Batman,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Batman Returns.” And yet, it was Henry Selick who directed “Nightmare.” Burton cracked the story, co-produced the film and came up with character designs, but Selick was the director. And after all these years, Selick is a bit tired of the misconception that “Nightmare” is Burton’s film.

“That was a little unfair because it wasn’t called ‘Tim Burton’s Nightmare’ until three weeks before the film came out. And I would have been fine with that, if that’s what I signed up for,” Selick recently told AV Club. “But Tim was in L.A. making two features while I directed that film, and I mean, Tim is a genius — or he certainly was in his most creative years. I always thought his story was perfect, and he designed the main characters. But it was really me and my team of people who brought that to life.”

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“Now, of course, if you ask Danny Elfman, well, that’s his movie [Laughs],” Selick continued. “When we finished the film, it was so funny because he came up to me and shook my hand. ‘Henry, you’ve done a wonderful job illustrating my songs!’ And he was serious, and I loved it! Fine. But my thing was I’m going to hang in there long enough to where people actually say, ‘Oh, that guy Henry, he does stuff.'”

Selick achieved that with “Coraline” and now with the new Netflix movie “Wendell & Wild.” Both films feature Selick in the director’s chair and were marketed as such.

“I mean, Coraline is based on a really good book by Neil Gaiman. That didn’t hurt,” Selick said. “On [‘Wendell & Wild’], my collaborator is Jordan Peele—and that is the reason we were able to set this up. So I really, truly like to collaborate. But I’m the one leading the team to make the movie.”

“Wendell & Wild” is now streaming on Netflix.

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