Today marks the big 5-0 for filmmaker Wes Anderson, a perennial favorite of the staff here at LWLies. Fifty may seem young for such an established, well-regarded director, but that’s just what happens when you start cranking out triumphs at age twenty-seven.
To commemorate this milestone birthday, we’ve decided to take stock of all that’s known at present about his next feature, announced to be titled The French Dispatch. It’s scarcely been a year since Anderson’s long-gestating stop-motion feature Isle of Dogs bounded into theaters, and already news of his return to live-action has begun to circulate.
Anderson’s tenth film will revolve around “the outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city,” as the official synopsis goes. To complicate matters, Anderson has described the upcoming film both as “a love letter to journalists” but also “not a movie about freedom of the press.”
First with The Grand Budapest Hotel and then Isle of Dogs, Anderson’s been on something of an anti-fascism kick lately, and it sounds like that’ll continue here. (Smart money says the film will be set around World War Two or the youth unrest of the ’60s.) In an interview with the French-language publication Charente Libre, Anderson confirmed that the film employs a three-storyline structure and said that “It is more a portrait of this man, of this journalist who fights to write what he wants to write.”
As casting goes, The French Dispatch will pair him with newcomers and old favorites alike. There’s no shortage of holdovers from the Moonrise Kingdom and Grand Budapest era: Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Willem Dafoe, Mathieu Amalric, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Bob Balaban, and Jason Schwartzman will all appear.
They’re joined by a host of first-timers, including Timotheé Chalamet, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Winkler, Benicio del Toro, Kate Winslet, Lois Smith, Christoph Waltz, Griffin Dunne, and Fisher Stevens. (When Wes Anderson calls, all you say is “yes.”) A handful of French performers round out the cast – Lyna Khoudri, Vincent Macaigne, Denis Ménochet, to name only a few – echoing the Japanese personnel filling out the call sheet on Isle of Dogs.
Curious parties may not have to wait too long to learn more, however. Anderson wrapped preliminary shooting in mid-March before returning to the city of Angoulême this month for a dance scene with students, and has estimated that he’ll have a cut ready before the year is out. Anderson took Isle of Dogs to the Berlinale last year, and the timing would situate him perfectly for a return in 2020. Vive la journalisme!
Published 1 May 2019
By Luís Azevedo
How the director uses sound to immerse the audience in his unique cinematic world.
The US writer/director takes us inside his spellbinding stop-motion opus Isle of Dogs.
Ten years ago, the director dropped his most profound meditation on life’s journey.