Ah, okay: so there’s really just one Wes Anderson film this year. He can be forgiven for not putting out two ornate, exhaustively manicured works in a twelve-month span, just as we can be absolved for assuming The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar might be notably longer than an episode of Eastbound & Down. But during an interview with Indiewire the director, who is hours out from the release of Asteroid City, revealed his second Roald Dahl adaptation will in fact be closer to BBC’s Play for Today series––which gave a medium-length platform for the likes of Mike Leigh and Alan Clarke––than Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Whatever jokes can be made about the change in expectations, it’s only refreshing to have a capital-A Auteur use Netflix’s fake-capital empire for these experiments in adaptation and duration. And par for this director’s course: Anderson compared the endeavor to 2007’s Darjeeling Limited preface Hotel Chevalier, which screened in Apple stores and was freely available via iTunes, but I also think of Castello Cavalcanti, a Prada production, or any commercials he’s done on and off for 20 years. None of this is outside a huge norm. Much as it marks a surprise.
Anderson’s phrasing also suggests a Faustian bargain of not getting theatrical play: “it’s not quite the choice between a full-fledged cinema release and a streaming release because you would never distribute a short film like that and distribute it in cinemas.” Yet as our conversation with DP Robert Yeoman revealed a 16mm production, I suspect there’ll be plenty to salivate over, no matter the length or distribution model.