The Nightmare Before Christmas: Henry Selick thinks it’s a little unfair Tim Burton gets all the credit

As Tim Burton’s name is plastered just above the title The Nightmare Before Christmas, many have assumed he directed the stop-motion animated classic. While Burton developed the story and characters of The Nightmare Before Christmas, it was Henry Selick who directed the film. Selick moved on to the helm James and the Giant Peach, The monkey leg, Coralineand the recently published Wendell & Wildbut he wants a little credit for his debut feature.

While talking to AV Clubsaid Henry Selick that he is “won many a bare bet” over who actually directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, adding that Tim Burton’s name was only added to the title just weeks before the film was released. “It was a bit unfair because it wasn’t called Tim Burton’s Nightmare until three weeks before the movie came out,said Henry Selick. “And I would have been fine with that if that was what I signed up for. But Tim was in LA doing two features while I was directing that movie, and I mean, Tim is a genius—or he was certainly in his prime. 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 it to life.

Henry Selick added that if you ask Danny Elfman, he’s considering The Nightmare Before Christmas to be his film. “When we finished the movie, 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!” explained Selick. “Lived. But my thing was, I’m going to hang around long enough to where people are actually going, ‘Oh, that guy Henry, he’s doing stuff.’ And then in the long run, especially with Coraline and this movie i mean Coraline is based on a really good book by Neil Gaiman. It didn’t hurt. My partner in this area is Jordan Peele – and that’s why we were able to set this up. So I really like to collaborate. But I am the one leading the team to make the film.” Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild is now streaming on Netflix and you can see a review from our own Cody Hamman right here.

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