Fantastic Mr. Fox Opens Nov. 25
The new film is based on Roald Dahl's life and home
Gypsy House is the estate where beloved children's book author Roald Dahl lived and raised his children. It is also the setting for a movie based on Dahl's book, Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Movie director Wes Anderson stayed at Gypsy House while writing the screenplay for the film. His designs for the animation were based on the estate. The look and character of Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, are based on the author himself.
"I said, let's start with Gypsy House, because it was always my goal to make this movie as Dahl-esque as it can be," Anderson told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps recently. "That seemed like a good place to start."
Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on Dahl's book of the same title. Dahl also wrote James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Anderson based his re-creation on the creator. Clothes for the character Mr. Fox were designed to look like the clothes Roald Dahl wore during his lifetime. Items and places in the movie resemble things Dahl owned or liked, such as Dahl's favorite writing chair and a pub he liked to frequent.
Mr. Fox very much resembles Dahl, said Lucy Dahl, his youngest daughter.
"This film is very, very close to my heart because so much of this film is about the house and the village where I grew up," said Lucy Dahl, who is also a screenwriter. She wrote the screenplay for Wild Child, a 2008 teen comedy starring Emma Roberts.
The story of Mr. Fox is one that Roald Dahl often told his children as they were growing up.
"At the top of the apple orchard there was this big tree—it was actually four trees that had grown into one—and underneath that tree there was a fox hole," Lucy Dahl told this reporter. "My father used to say that's where Mr. Fox and Mrs. Fox and their children lived."
Fantastic Mr. Fox the book is considered a classic for young readers. Anderson said it has long been one of his favorite reads.
"I loved the book when I was a child," he said. "It was the first book that was considered my property in our house, and I loved it."
He especially loved all the digging in the book, and he loved Mr. Fox's character.
"Also, it introduced me to Roald Dahl in general," said Wes Anderson. "At a certain point I thought I'd like to do an animated film and sort of simultaneously while thinking I wanted to do something animated, I thought of doing this book."
The stop-action film is Anderson's first animated movie. It features the voices of Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as his Mrs. Fox, and Jason Schwartzman as their son Ash.
Stop-action is a painstaking process. Three-dimensional models are filmed frame by frame. It sometimes takes all day to complete two or three seconds of film. From start to finish, the movie took two years to make.
Anderson recorded his actors differently than in most animated features. Usually the actors record their voices in studios and never even see each other. The cast for this movie—except for Meryl Streep—recorded their voices together on location.
"If the scene called for us to be outside, we'd go outside and find a place that seemed like it was where the scene would actually be taking place," explained Schwartzman. "If the scene required us to dig, we would all get on our hands and knees and dig. I never imagined myself animated, because I was just literally working with George Clooney and Bill Murray, and it felt like we were just making a movie or rehearsing a scene."
Fantastic Mr. Fox opens in theaters nationwide on November 25.
Check out Kid Reporter Miranda Rector's review of Fantastic Mr. Fox!
Kid Reporter Grace McManus worked the red carpet at the New York City premiere. You can check out her story here.
Also, Kid Reporter Grace McManus writes about her red carpet experience on the Scholastic Kids Press Corps blog!
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