Wes Anderson's Absence Angers Fantastic Mr. Fox Crew
10.13.09 by REELZ
All is not well in the world of Fantastic Mr. Fox. The stop-motion animation feature — which is based on the children's book by Roald Dahl — is still due out in a little over a month. But according to recent reports, the project has been hampered by unhappy relations between director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, and Darjeeling Limited) and his crew.
Digital Spy writes that Anderson apparently took a hike for most of the on-site production's one-year duration, choosing instead to correspond with crew members by email from a residence in Paris.
Understandably, many of the crew members are a bit upset, perhaps none more than director of photography Tristan Oliver. Speaking to the press, he seemed to release some pent-up resentment when he lashed out at Anderson, and he made sure he pulled no punches:
It's not in the least bit normal. I've never worked on a picture where the director has been anywhere other than the studio floor. Honestly, yeah, he has made our lives miserable ... I think he's a little sociopathic; I think he's a little OCD. Contact with people disturbs him. This way, he can spend an entire day locked inside an empty room with a computer. He's a bit like the Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain.
Ouch. We've heard of directors not getting along with cast and crew before. Stanley Kubrick was notorious for being extremely difficult on-set, and Roman Polanski had a famously harsh relationship with actress Faye Dunaway on the set of Chinatown. But in all cases, the directors were actually on the set, interacting with cast and crew.
We have to admit, Anderson's disappearing act does sound a bit odd and more than mildly unprofessional. On top of this, experts hired for the movie are reportedly frustrated with Anderson's lack of stop-motion animation knowledge. Knowing how singular Anderson's vision is, and also how stubborn he likely is in trying to get that vision onto the screen, we could see how this would create some big problems.
Anderson tried to speak in his defense, both on this point and on his disappearance:
[I] didn't want to be at Three Mills Studios for two years. I thought I'd make the script and cast it and record the actors. I'd work with some people to design it, get it to look a certain way. But at a certain point, I'd hand it over to the people that animate it. And they'd give it back to me and I'd work on the music and kind of spruce it up.
The simple reality is, the movie would not be the way I wanted it if I just did it the way people were accustomed to doing it. I realised this is an opportunity to do something nobody's ever seen before. I want to see it. I don't want afterward to say, "I could have gone further with this."
Well, maybe, but that doesn't really justify abandoning your crew. We're guessing that since Anderson is hiding out in France, on indefinite hiatus from contact with the real world, then there's probably more to this story than meets the eye. Now the only question is whether the contentious relationship will hamper the final product.