“Off-beat director, Wes Anderson, gives Dahl readers a 21st century fox”

Times (London)
November 12, 2007

(thanks to Racer jexxica for the lead)

His recent films have been offbeat, melancholy comedies, but what Wes Anderson really wanted to do was bring his favourite Roald Dahl story from childhood to the big screen. After nearly a decade of planning, during which he made The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited, the American director has started work in London on an animated version of Fantastic Mr Fox, with George Clooney providing the voice of the eponymous hero.

Dahl’s classic tale was written in 1970 after he had made his name as a children’s writer with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Aimed at younger readers, it pits the daring Mr Fox against three memorably grotesque farmers who are determined to put an end to his raids on their stock by shooting him or starving his family out of their den. “It was one of my favourite books as a child,” Anderson told The Times. “I have been trying to make this film for eight years.”

New characters and plotlines, including something resembling a raid scene, have been introduced to make the story into a feature-length film.

“There’s a whole new bit at the start and a new section at the end, but we’ve tried to do something that Roald Dahl would love,” Anderson, who is writing the script with Noah Baumbach, a director, said.

Amanda Conquy, who runs Roald Dahl’s literary estate, said that she and Felicity, the author’s widow, had no doubts that the pair had the right vision for the project.

“Whatever Wes does is interesting and has a definite point of view. He understands the humour of Dahl and the sweetness and slightly anarchic nature of this story,”
Ms Conquy added.

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