For years, Sam Mendes has talked about making a stage musical based on Roald Dahl‘s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The most recent time the project cropped up was when the director was going through the early stages of working on the new James Bond film, Skyfall. As that project seemed to stall thanks to MGM’s financial situation (since resolved) he considered bouncing to the stage production.

Now, with his Skyfall duties nearing their end, he’s back on track to mount the story of Charlie on the London stage. Get info on that production, and see some behind the scenes photos of the original film version of the book, after the break. Read More »

Like so many young bookworms, I counted Roald Dahl among my very favorite authors growing up. Dahl’s books were childlike without being childish, thanks to Dahl’s ability to whip up the perfect combination of humor, drama, and just the tiniest bit of terror. Hollywood apparently agrees with me, as Dahl’s works have been adapted for the silver screen several times over — Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The Witches are just some of his novels that have been turned into feature films.

The next Dahl book to get the Hollywood treatment will be is 1982 classic The BFG, which is being developed as a feature over at DreamWorks with E.T. scribe Melissa Mathison tapped to write the script. More details after the jump.

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Movie Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox


As I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox and gradually sensed the darkness of the theater lose out to the autumn-colored, classy, stop motion shenanigans on screen, I began to accept that every silhouette in the audience—fat and small, rich and me—was dressed in ship-shape, semi-formal attire. I pictured moms silently imagining themselves speaking in snooty English accents and serving cups of Earl Grey. And kids ages five through nine on the verge of zzz’ing in handsome jackets of tweed and corduroy; mildly stimulated by what equates to a visually dazzling hipster Sunday School lesson taught with Adderall on its gums and Tryptophan in its belly.

In contrast to Spike Jonze‘s Where the Wild Things Areitself a furry and visionary 2009 adaptation of a famous kid’s book about nonconformity—Wes Anderson‘s Fox focuses foremost on family via adult characters. Whereas Wild Things united male Eighties Babies with its look at psychological distress, a side effect birthed by so much of that decade’s parental divorce and separation, Fox unites families of the aughts with an increasingly rare and welcome air of sophistication. One is a film about adults-as-wild-animals suitable for families, the other is a film about a child amidst wild animals suitable for would-be adults.

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Jason Schwartzman

Last month, while I was in London, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Jason Schwartzman about his new film, voicing Ash in Wes Anderson‘s stop-motion animated adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox. I talked to Jason briefly about Edgar Wright‘s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, because he had revealed off camera before the interview that he had seen a bunch a footage the night before. We also talk about the attraction of working with Wes, a constant collaborator in Schwartman’s career. And we also talk about how Anderson imposes a set of rules for every production, and how the rules for Fantastic Mr. Fox resulted in a very unique process of voicing the feature film “on location”.

This was filmed as a TV interivew at the London Film Festival junket, so it’s much shorter than I’m use to, and a much different pace than a normal one on one print interview that has appeared on the site previously. Also of note, the interview was filmed at the Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden in front of a replica of Roald Dahl’s writing chair and office, which would be found in the writing hut where Roald Dahl wrote most of his books.

Watch the interview embedded after the jump, and check out Fantastic Mr. Fox, which hits theaters nationwide today.

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Early Buzz: Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox

fantastic mr fox logo

As we previously reported, Wes Anderson‘s animated adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s Fantastic Mr. Fox had it’s first set of test screenings over the weekend in New York. We have yet to receive a reader report (although we’re expecting one), but some early word has been posted on internet message boards, including early chatter that the ending of the film differs from the original book. And the film’s official logo (seen above) on display somewhere at ShoWest has been posted by JoBlo on Twitpic. Check out two of the test screening reports after the jump.
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