Wes Anderson, modern cinema’s favorite auteur, is returning to the world of Roald Dahl, adapting a series of short stories by the Welsh novelist for a film. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is a new Netflix-funded adaptation of the 1977 novel, after the streaming service’s acquisition of the rights to Dahl’s complete creative portfolio in late 2021.
Netflix announced in September 2021 that it aimed to create a world of projects, spanning “animated and live-action films and television, publishing, gaming, immersive experiences, live theater, and consumer products,” after acquiring the entire Dahl tale archive. The streaming service has had a close relationship with the Dahl estate, and is now creating a series based on the universe of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston. Additionally, there’s a Sony and Working Title adaptation of Matilda: The Musical in the wings.
Anderson previously helmed the stop-motion film rendition of Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009, so this isn’t his first trip into Dahl’s realm.
Anderson visited the town where Dahl lived until his death as part of an immersive production experience, expanding his vision for the film to include the author as well as the book’s characters–Mr. Fox’s wife is named Felicity in the film, the same as Dahl’s second wife, whereas she is nameless in the novel. Anderson is a self-professed devotee of the author, citing his works as a vital aspect of his Texas boyhood.
The cast of the upcoming picture has yet to be finalized, with Benedict Cumberbatch being the only actor cast thus far. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar gets its title from one of the book’s short stories, and it’s unclear whether the film will be a complete adaptation of the book or just the titular story. Sugar, a mystical gambler, has his eyes sewn shut—yet claims to be able to see through cards. He’s the protagonist of the narrative.
An all-encompassing approach, covering every narrative, wouldn’t be unusual for the director, who is known for his love of anthological storytelling—like The Royal Tenenbaums for example.
This is Anderson’s second upcoming film after The French Dispatch, following Asteroid City, now filming in Spain; with stars Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, and regular collaborators, Tilda Swinton and Adrien Brody.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is set to begin filming in London later this year.
In other related news, Key and Peele will reunite on a Netflix stop-motion film.
Photo via The Film Stage