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FANTASTIC MR. FOX

Origins
First published in 1970 by Alfred Knopf in the US and George Allen & Unwin in the UK, with illustrations by Donald Chaffin, Roald Dahl's beloved book Fantastic Mr. Fox has enchanted and delighted generations of children and their parents alike for almost 40 years. Now, thanks to the bittersweet, wryly funny vision of acclaimed filmmaker Wes Anderson (RUSHMORE, THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, THE DARJEELING LIMITED) and the magic of stop-motion animation, Dahl's darkly humorous tale of the noble, charming and fantastic Mr. Fox is set to enthrall and delight an even wider audience. 

Anderson first read Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox as a child growing up in Houston, Texas and was captivated by it. "It was not only the first Roald Dahl book I ever read, it was the first book I ever owned,” he says. "I loved the character of Mr. Fox, this sort of heroic and slightly vain animal. And I also loved the digging. My brothers and I were obsessed with being underground and with tunnels and forts. He's a wonderful writer and his personality comes through in the writing so forcefully.” 

Although Roald Dahl died in 1990, his work remains as influential and popular as ever, with many of his celebrated children's books having been adapted for the big screen, among them Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (which was the source of both the 1972 feature, WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and the 2005 film starring Johnny Depp), James And The Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Witches, with several others in various stages of development.

Anderson optioned the movie rights to Fantastic Mr. Fox from Dahl's widow Felicity "Liccy” Dahl, who runs the late author's literary estate. "My film agent in Los Angeles approached me nine years ago, saying, ‘I've had an enquiry from somebody called Wes Anderson, who wants to make a film of Fantastic Mr. Fox',” Dahl recalls. "In my ignorance, I hadn't heard of Wes Anderson then and he'd just made RUSHMORE and BOTTLE ROCKET. Michael sent me the videos and I looked at them and I thought, this guy has got talent. He was very young then and it wasn't until about three years later that we met in New York. He asked me to have lunch with him. He took me to a very posh restaurant and he was sitting, waiting for me when I walked in, and he stood up and he immediately looked like Mr. Fox, beautifully dressed, immaculate, and I said ‘Gosh, Wes, what are we doing here?' And he said the cheese soufflé's fantastic. He was in the middle of getting THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS together and we chatted and I thought, yes, this is the guy to make this film.”

Before he began work on the script, Anderson visited Gipsy House, the Dahl family's estate in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, England, where the late author famously worked in a writing hut in the garden. 

"He came to Gipsy House and we spent a very wet muddy day walking all over the hills, the woods, the dales, everywhere and we had good fun,” Felicity Dahl continues. 

"I went to Gipsy House in March, and it was drenched in mud,” Anderson says. "Liccy gave me a pair of rubber boots and one of Dahl's old fishing hats and took me around the property. There is a gigantic beech tree at the end of a fox run, which I immediately recognized from Fantastic Mr. Fox. There is a painted gypsy caravan under a tree, which I had seen in dust-jacket photographs. There is a stone half buried on the edge of the drive with the word 'gipsy' carved into it.

"Liccy showed me into Dahl's famous writing hut,” Anderson continues. "There is part of a bone from his hip on the table next to his first metal hip replacement, which didn't take. There is a 10-pound ball of aluminum foil made from several years of Cadbury chocolate wrappers. There is a little surgical valve he invented that saved his son from hydrocephalus (a.k.a. water on the brain). That night Liccy left me to

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