Henry Winkler has officially joined the cast of Wes Anderson's upcoming live-action film The French Dispatch. Following the positive reactions to his role in the HBO series Barry opposite Bill Hader, this will be Winkler's first time working with Anderson.
Though there are few details surrounding The French Dispatch, the film will reportedly take place in a post-World War II period in France, following three separate storylines that center around a Paris-based division of an American newspaper. And, though that's roughly the extent of information revealed about the plot, Anderson's follow-up to 2018's stop-motion film Isle of Dogs has already recruited a massive ensemble of actors, including a lineup of talent who have worked with Anderson in the past, like Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson, and Bob Balaban. Now, Winkler has been added to the cast alongside other newcomers working with Anderson, including Léa Seydoux, Timothée Chalamet, Benicio Del Toro, and Jeffrey Wright.
Considering the lack of character details revealed for The French Dispatch, it's no surprise that Winkler's role is currently a mystery. That said, Winkler is no stranger to playing seemingly straight-laced characters who turn out to be more peculiar than they might initially let on (see: Gene Cousineau in Barry, Barry Zuckerkorn in Arrested Development). According to THR, The French Dispatch is currently in the middle of filming in France, though it's unclear when Winkler will start filming his scenes - or if he's already started.
Originally finding success back in the 1970s as Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in the sitcom Happy Days (which earned him two Golden Globes), Winkler recently won an Emmy for his performance in Barry. The HBO series showcased a side of Winkler that fans of his earlier work might not have expected, seeing as his character is a far cry from his devil-may-care greaser in Happy Days.
At 73, Winkler has proven that he is perfectly capable of delivering the unexpected. Now, with a filmmaker who is no stranger to extracting critically-lauded performances from his actors - and given that Winkler is in the middle of his mainstream "comeback," so to speak - it'll be interesting to see what other sides to Winkler Anderson will be able to bring out. And, now more than ever, the fact that The French Dispatch won't be a musical - despite initial rumors - is that much more disappointing. Whether or not he's musically inclined, Winkler surely would not have disappointed.