Wes Anderson will direct a second adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, 12 years after the success of his stop-motion version of Fantastic Mr Fox. The production is supported by Netflix, which recently purchased the rights to Dahl’s entire catalog.
According to Daily Mail reporter Baz Bamigboye, Anderson will direct an adaptation of the short story The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, first published in 1977, about a player who studies meditation to acquire the ability to see through maps – then opens a chain of orphanages with his earnings. Benedict Cumberbatch will play the title role. Deadline reports that Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, and Ben Kingsley are also due to appear, and that the film may take the form of an anthology, incorporating other stories from the same 1977 collection.
Netflix acquired Dahl’s Complete Catalog from the Roald Dahl Story Company in September 2021 after licensing 16 of Dahl’s best-known titles in 2018; This original deal, Netflix said at the time, alerted the company to the possibility of “creating a unique universe through animated and live action films and television, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater consumer products and more ”. Already in development are two Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi television series – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Oompa Loompas – and an animated series based on The Twits. Upcoming feature films include an adaptation of Matilda’s musical starring Emma Thompson and directed by Matthew Warchus.
Also in production, Wonka, a story of “origins” starring Timothée Chalamet in the role of young Willy Wonka; the license agreement with Warner Bros to make this film predates the Netflix agreement.
Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox was released in 2009 and starred George Clooney and Meryl Streep; Described by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian as “quirky, smart and very funny”, it was moderately financially successful and was nominated for two Academy Awards.