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FANTASTIC MR. FOX

Voice Cast
Although Anderson and Baumbach's FANTASTIC MR. FOX script retained the book's English countryside setting and its English farmers, all the animal characters are American. At the very least they're voiced by American actors. "The animals tend to have American accents and the humans are English,” explains Abbate. "No one knows what accent an animal would have if it talked and animals have nationalities. We started with George Clooney as Mr. Fox and that kind of set the rule to keep them all consistent.” 

To play the crafty, sly and decidedly roguish antihero Mr. Fox, Anderson only ever had George Clooney in mind. "George seemed like a natural choice,” he states of the producer, writer, director and Oscar®-winning actor, "because we needed somebody who was going to be a hero, and I think he is that automatically. I've wanted to work with him for a long time. So we sent him the script, and he said he'd do it.”

Adds Abbate, "George was born to play this part. He's the right combination of Cary Grant and Clark Gable. He's got the debonair, gentlemanly quality of Grant as well as the animalistic, sexy side. I really believe he could steal some chickens.”

As Mr. Fox's pragmatic, artistic and resolutely faithful wife Felicity, Anderson cast multiple Academy Award® nominee and two-time Oscar® winner Meryl Streep (DOUBT). "When else am I going to be Mrs. George Clooney?” laughs Streep of accepting the role.

"There is no better actress and she completely brought to life a character,” says Anderson. 

"She was an amazing choice,” says Abbate. "She's the moral center of the movie in many ways. She can be strong, she can be funny, and she is definitely wifely. She stands by her man and helps him get out of scrapes. She's got a great relationship with Mr. Fox. She keeps him honest.”

"She's the one person he can't lie to,” muses Bill Murray, who voices Mr. Fox's lawyer Badger and previously lent his voice to Garfield the cat for GARFIELD and GARFIELD: A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES. "I mean, he can sort of try to deceive her but she knows who he is. She is sort of a magical creature.” 

Murray, who previously worked with Anderson on RUSHMORE, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS and THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, originally wanted to give his character a Wisconsin accent. "Because the badger is the mascot of the University of Wisconsin and it's badger country,” says the actor. "I worked on my accent very hard. I did the first few scenes with [it], and I was feeling really pleased.” Alas, Anderson wasn't so keen. "He said, I see him as sort of a Saville Row-lawyer kind of a badger, which is fair enough — and it's worked out great.”

Producer Abbate agrees. "Bill Murray took a part that was originally very small and made it something really funny,” she says. "He has so much personality he anchors the movie right from the very start.”

Filling out the rest of the voice cast were many who had worked with Anderson before, and who form part of his unofficial company of actors, including Jason Schwartzman as Ash, Owen Wilson (THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS) as Coach Skip, Willem Dafoe (SPIDERMAN, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU) as the villainous Rat, Brian Cox (RUSHMORE) as a TV reporter, Academy Award® winner Adrien Brody (THE PIANIST, THE DARJEELING LIMITED) in a brief cameo as Rickety the mouse, and Wally Wolodarsky, who played the assistant in THE DARJEELING LIMITED, as Kylie the opossum. Even executive producer Dawson was roped in. "Wes likes to use a lot of his friends and family,” Abbate reveals. "Jeremy's the voice of the Beaver's son. His live action prop master is the Mole.” Anderson's younger brother, Eric, who worked as an illustrator on the film, was enlisted to play Ash's cousin Kristofferson. "I think he is really a revelation,” says Murray of Eric Anderson. 

As Fra

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