Few filmmakers have so studiously maintained and grown their fan base as well as Wes Anderson, and people who have drank the Kool-Aid that is Anderson’s distinct style have been rewarded time and time again. Not only has he been making nothing but masterpieces or near-masterworks since Rushmore, he’s arguably the only major American director other than Brad Bird whose best film is an animated project. As beautiful and complex as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom were, the most succinct and aesthetically rich expression of the director’s artistic persona remains The Fantastic Mr. Fox, his astonishing stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s beloved tale of the same name.
Now comes word that Anderson’s new movie will also be a stop-motion animation, similarly focused on the doings of animals, with the next project centering on a dog. This is great news and somewhat surprising considering, as Indiewire points out, Anderson was rumored to be making an anthology film indebted to the great Vittoria De Sica; there were also rumblings of him doing some more experimental work with oft-times collaborator Roman Coppola. More times than not, a filmmaker would never warrant such rampant fascination, and we’d just hang back and wait for a confirmation but Anderson is the kind of filmmaker has consistently spurred devotion. Pre-production has already started on Anderson’s new stop-motion animation, and it’s already qualifying as the most anticipated film currently on the docket, including the dozen or more movies that the MCU will produce over the next five years or so.
Animation has been a key component of many Anderson films, as have, as Indiewire also points out, dead dogs. The Texas-born director’s sublime and melancholic The Life Aquatic brilliantly utilized stop-motion to create underwater creatures, adding a dash of brazen invention to an already strange and original masterwork. There were also similar sequences in The Grand Budapest Hotel, his most recent feature, but building an entire world with such detail as stop-motion demands is exactly the kind of meticulous kind of creative work that gets Anderson firing on all cylinders. The only real issue is that Anderson has set a mighty high standard with Fantastic Mr. Fox, but if there’s anyone who has continually advanced and honed his artistry, it’s the extravagantly wardrobed, pastel-obsessed auteur.