Anyone who has witnessed the spectacular stage production and tour that Elfman, now 70 years young, has been performing in recent years knows that the man can sing. The frontman for Oingo Boingo is a demanding presence, and that certainly comes across when listening to the composer and singer-songwriter belting out the vocals heard in “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Elfman turned out to be the perfect singing voice for Jack, but something just wasn’t clicking for Selick when it came to Jack’s speaking voice. During the long production, Selick had Burton listen to a number of dialogue recordings which led to the painful decision that Elfman needed to be replaced by an actual actor.
That was not an easy conversation for all parties involved. “Danny wanted to kill us both,” Selick admitted. At that point in the creative process, Elfman was deeply invested in portraying Jack Skellington, despite the fact that voice acting was completely foreign to him at that time. Understandably, having someone else voice Jack didn’t really register.
“I mean it was just second nature,” Elfman explained. “There was a point after we did the demos where I went to Tim and I realized, ‘Oh my God. I could never let anybody else sing this song.’ I was, then, really attached to it.” Fortunately, Burton wasn’t planning on having a professional come in and take away Elfman’s singing voice to add insult to injury. “I said, ‘Tim?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, you should do it,’ and I was like ‘thank God,’ ’cause that would’ve killed me if we had another singer come in.”
Currently, there are no plans for a sequel, but there’s always a chance that fans haven’t seen the last of Halloween Town.