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LA Times Talks Directing Controversy on ‘Mr. Fox’

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The  Los Angeles Times, in their Los Angeles Times way, has a rather interesting (if needlessly muck-raking in tone) article on the controversy about Wes’ involvement in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Take it with several very large grains of salt. Share your thoughts at the Yankee Racers Forum, and as always, full story after the break.

To be clear, Wes Anderson did not set out to direct his new movie via e-mail. Even if that’s precisely how the writer-director’s stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — a jaunty visual joy ride that features voice characterizations by George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman — ultimately came to be, Anderson never intended to become an in-box auteur. That choice was made all but inevitable, however, by the Oscar nominee’s unorthodox decision to hole up in Paris for most of the shoot’s one-year duration while principal photography commenced across the English Channel at London’s venerable Three Mills Studios. He wasn’t working on another project, and nothing Paris-centric demanded he be there; Anderson simply “didn’t want to be at Three Mills Studios for two years.” The move did little to endear Anderson to his subordinates. “It’s not in the least bit normal,” director of photography Tristan Oliver observed at the production’s East London set last spring, when production on “Mr. Fox” was about three-quarters complete. “I’ve never worked on a picture where the director has been anywhere other than the studio floor!”  Moreover, Anderson had no idea that his ignorance of stop-motion (the animation technique in which a stationary object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames) and exacting ideas concerning the film’s look would so exasperate his crew.

“Honestly? Yeah. He has made our lives miserable,” the film’s director of animation, Mark Gustafson, said during a break in shooting. He gave a weary chuckle. “I probably shouldn’t say that.”

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