AFI Movie Club: FANTASTIC MR. FOX – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: FANTASTIC MR. FOX

Adapted from the children’s novel by Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson’s meticulous stop-motion masterpiece, FANTASTIC MR. FOX, features a star-studded voice cast that includes AFI Life Achievement Award honorees George Clooney and Meryl Streep.   

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FANTASTIC MR. FOX – Reelgood

Watch Wes Anderson, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman discuss filming FANTASTIC MR. FOX in this exclusive clip from the AFI Archive.

Movie Trivia About FANTASTIC MR. FOX

DID YOU KNOW? FANTASTIC MR. FOX was based on a 1970 children’s novel by Roald Dahl – the acclaimed author of such beloved childhood classics as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Witches” and “James and the Giant Peach.” 

DID YOU KNOW? In addition to having a number of his works adapted for the screen, FANTASTIC MR. FOX author Roald Dahl was also a screenwriter himself. Among his scripts was YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, the fifth James Bond movie starring Sean Connery. He also adapted CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, another work from 007 author Ian Fleming.   

DID YOU KNOW? Wes Anderson took inspiration from Roald Dahl’s own personality and distinctive sensibilities – which Anderson saw reflected in the author’s home and writer’s hut. Anderson visited many times during the long development process for FANTASTIC MR. FOX and described it as “a wonderful place…all sort of jerry-rigged the way he wanted it.” 

DID YOU KNOW? The animation for FANTASTIC MR. FOX was done using a process called “stop motion,” in which figures or objects are moved incrementally and then photographed to create a sequence of consecutive images – which are then played back in sequence to create the effect of motion. 

DID YOU KNOW? Among Wes Anderson’s inspirations for FANTASTIC MR. FOX was a 1937 film called LE ROMAN DE RENARD (THE TALE OF THE FOX) – also animated using stop motion, and also recounting the story of a mischievous fox. 

DID YOU KNOW? Dialogue for FANTASTIC MR. FOX was recorded on a farm in Connecticut, where the entire cast stayed together to foster a sense of creative community – and to approximate the country atmosphere that is so central to the film and its characters.

DID YOU KNOW? FANTASTIC MR. FOX features a number of Wes Anderson’s frequent collaborators as voice actors – including Adrian Brody (who has worked with Anderson four times), Willem Dafoe (four times), Bill Murray (nine times), Jason Schwartzman (seven times), Owen Wilson (eight times) and Wally Wolodarsky (five times). 

DID YOU KNOW? In addition to Wes Anderson’s animated twist on FANTASTIC MR. FOX, Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s tale has been adapted for the stage as a play, a musical and an opera. 

DID YOU KNOW? FANTASTIC MR. FOX was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score for Alexandre Desplat. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

 

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-Why do you think writer/director Wes Anderson chose to produce FANTASTIC MR. FOX with stop motion animation, rather than using computer-generated imagery? What are some of the aesthetic effects of that choice? 

-Do you think the story would have been more effectively told using more polished contemporary animation techniques? Why or why not? 

-Can you think of any other films that have used stop motion animation? 

-Why do you think author Roald Dahl’s stories are so ripe for adaptation? What are the signifiers of his distinctive imagination? 

-What are the aesthetic signifiers that mark a Wes Anderson project and make it so immediately distinctive? How do they translate differently to animation than in his live-action works? 

-How is FANTASTIC MR. FOX quintessential to Roald Dahl’s oeuvre? In what ways does Wes Anderson put his own unique spin on the story? 

-How would you describe the color palette of FANTASTIC MR. FOX? Why do you think Wes Anderson chose primarily autumnal hues – and why do you think he generally eschewed bright colors for the film? 

-How would you rate FANTASTIC MR. FOX? 

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AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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