Hot on the heels of wrapping in Spain for the upcoming Asteroid City, Wes Anderson is off to begin filming his second Roald Dahl adaptation based on the short story. ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’ for Netflix. The casting begins with a newcomer to the Anderson film family, Benedict Cumberbatch. For those not familiar with the story, the book is actually a story-within-a-story-within-a-story-within-a-story. That setup’s address is solidly on Anderson Alley.
A book, within Roald Dahl’s short story, is found on a friend’s shelf by a bored and silly playboy, Henry Sugar, whose day’s frivolous activities are spoiled by a rainy day. With nothing to do, he picks up the book, and it tells of a doctor’s tale that takes place in India, who has a patient visit him that claims he can see with his eyes closed. The book then launches into the patient’s tale of how he acquired those powers. It was years of tutelage by a master in yoga and meditation. The doctor decides to publish his findings, and then our tale comes back to Sugar determined to master seeing with his eyes closed. He has plans to win a fortune at the casinos. He does! However, he finds that the money did not bring him happiness, so he tosses it out of the window. It turns out the charity fulfills him. He begins to secretly, with the help of his accountant, create orphanages around the world with his infinite winnings. When Sugar dies, the accountant then writes Henry Sugar’s tale, starting from the very beginning. Phew!
With exotic locations throughout the book, intertwining and overlapping relationships, fanciful ideas, and a vivid palette of characters, the story has all the makings of another Wes Anderson success. As with all of his films, the casting trickles in, and the cards are held close to the vest as to who the actors will portray. While in years and films past, Wes Anderson has rarely strayed from his eclectic crew of A-listers populating his films, his current film, The French Dispatch and Astroid City, currently in post-production, have shown the writer and director is branching out with invitations being extended to quite a few new faces to join his select crew.
The film marked the inclusion of George Clooney and Meryl Streep into the ever-expanding film family. This year’s The French Dispatch and the upcoming Asteroid City also see quite a few new faces added to the Wes Anderson universe. Notable additions for The French Dispatch included Henry Winkler, Benicio Del Toro, Timothée Chalamet and Jeffrey Wright. Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke and Matt Dillon will be taking their first ride on the Anderson Ferris wheel, joining the casting staples in Asteroid City. Variety has reported Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Ben Kingsley have been signed for the new Netflix feature. Baz Bamigboye was the first to report Benedict Cumberbatch joining the Anderson film.