Times London Profiles Wes

A profile of Mr. Anderson we seemed to have missed. Full story after the break or at the Times London site.

Wes Anderson returns to form with Mr Fox
Hollywood’s darling until The Life Aquatic flopped, director’s version of Roald Dahl’s book is George Clooney’s best role
by Jeff Dawson

In his latest film, you might say George Clooney is perfectly cast — a sly fox, a smooth operator, a wolf-whistling alpha male let loose in the henhouse. And not without his own existential angst, musing on his compulsion to be liked and the vapidity of his fame. “I asked him to be in it just because I was a fan,” enthuses his director, the usually laid-back Wes Anderson. “Only when I went into the editing room and started working with it did I realise that he has a most wonderful voice.”

That the film is an animation should not detract from what might be the actor’s finest performance to date — no kidding. Then again, under Anderson’s stewardship, Fantastic Mr Fox, from Roald Dahl’s 1970 story, is a queer beast all round. The tale of a charismatic fox at war with three local chicken farmers (Boggis, Bunce and Bean), it has become, in Anderson’s extended version — all filmed in jerky, old-fashioned stop-motion — a fatalistic fable about the struggle for survival, a sort of weird mash-up between Wallace & Gromit and those macabre eastern European animations beloved of children’s telly in the 1970s.

Anderson has long made a habit of essaying the unusual. Over the past decade and a half, he has established himself as one of America’s quirkiest film-makers. Tall and slim, with a mane of sandy-brown hair tucked behind his ears, in a natty bottle-green corduroy suit, he projects English country squire more than Texas native, no doubt enhanced by the 12 months he spent shooting the film at 3 Mills Studios, in London. Then there’s his friendship with Jarvis Cocker, who wrote some songs for the film and ended up as a character in it. At Claridge’s hotel, where we’re meeting, Anderson could be part of the furniture.

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