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James Hong On The Big Future He Saw For Jordan Peele And Keegan-Michael Key When He Guest-Starred On Key & Peele - Exclusive

Legendary actor James Hong has seen a plethora of stars on the rise in his seven-decade career in the industry. Among them are Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, whom Hong first met in 2013 when they were burgeoning comedians on the Comedy Central sketch series "Key & Peele."

Now, nine years after Hong guest-starred on "Key & Peele," he has reunited with the comedy duo for their new stop-motion animated adventure-comedy "Wendell & Wild." Streaming exclusively on Netflix, "Wendell & Wild" tells the story of a 13-year-old orphan, Kat (Lyric Ross), who is placed in a Catholic boarding school after the tragic loss of her mom and dad years earlier. Guilt-ridden over the accident that took her parents' lives, Kat finds a solution that will bring her peace when she encounters Wendell (Key) and Wild (Peele), a pair of demon brothers imprisoned in the underworld. If Kat summons Wendell and Wild to the Land of the Living, they will not only be able to help the teen with her troubles but also be able to live out the dreams they've long desired.

Hong also stars in "Wendell & Wild" in the pivotal role of Father Bests, a priest and headmaster of Kat's boarding school who inadvertently gets caught up in the demons' wild and crazy ways. "Wendell & Wild" is directed by "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Coraline" helmer Henry Selick, who penned the screenplay with Peele. In an exclusive interview, Hong told Looper how he was thrilled to reunite with Peele nearly a decade after first working with him.

"I'm glad he kept me in mind, which means that I did a great job in 'Key & Peele,'" Hong enthused. Perhaps even more thrilling to Hong, though, is to see how successful Key and Peele have become in the industry since he sensed something very special about the comedy duo all those years ago.

'I knew they were going to make it big'

James Hong — whose immense list of credits includes such smash hits as "Blade Runner," "Kung-Fu Panda," and "Everything Everywhere All at Once" — first worked with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele on "Key & Peele" in November 2013.

Since then, of course, Peele wrote and directed the horror films "Us" and "Nope," and won an Oscar for writing his original screenplay for the thriller "Get Out" — which also earned him nominations for best director and best picture as one of the film's producers. Key, meanwhile, has worked nonstop as an actor, starring in such films as "The Lion King" and "The Predator" and the TV series "The Pentaverate," "Schmigadoon!" and "Reboot."

Recalling his guest role as Mr. Shin in the ninth episode of "Key & Peele" Season 3, titled "Tackle and Grapple," Hong said he knew the two were destined for greatness. "Even during those days when I did that crazy scene in the alley with these two guys, I said, 'What's going on? Do these guys know what they're doing?' I must have done a good job ad-libbing and rolling with the punches in those days [to get the role with them in 'Wendell & Wild']," Hong said.

"I knew even then they had something [and were] going to make it big, and here it is [with] 'Wendell & Wild' and all those movies that [Jordan has] done, and he's got so much more to come. I wish I was, let's say, 20 or 30 years younger to keep pace with him. But I arrived at this ... 70 years I've been in this industry."

Also starring the voices of Angela Bassett and Ving Rhames, "Wendell & Wild" is streaming exclusively on Netflix.