Fox Searchlight has acquired the worldwide rights to Wes Anderson's new film, The French Dispatch, confirming its cast and plot in the process. Anderson fans didn't have to wait long for the filmmaker to get going on the followup to his last project - the Oscar nominated stop-motion feature Isle of Dogs. And although The French Dispatch (back before it had an official title) was initially described as being a post-WWII musical, it quickly came out that this - sadly - is not the case after all.
Rather, the film (which Anderson wrote and directed) is a typical Anderson-ian comedy-drama; in this case, one that takes place at an American newspaper outpost in a fictional French city sometime in the 20th century. It's long been reported that The French Dispatch further reunites Anderson with several of his previous collaborators, including (obviously) Bill Murray, as well as Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. Now, though, the movie's official ensemble and plot has been revealed.
In a press release issued today, Fox Searchlight confirmed that it has picked up the global rights to The French Dispatch, ahead of its theatrical release in 2020. The studio described the film as being "a love letter to journalists" that brings a collection of stories published in the (fictional) titular magazine to life, with Benicio Del Toro, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric, Lyna Khoudri, Stephen Park, and Owen Wilson all joining Murray, McDormand, and Swinton in the cast.
Anderson teaming up with Fox Searchlight on The French Dispatch comes as little surprise, considering the latter has already backed several of his previous movies (including, Isle of Dogs and the Oscar-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel). There may've been some doubts all the same, though, in the wake of Disney finalizing its acquisition of Fox's entertainment assets (Fox Searchlight included) earlier this year. As it were, this means The French Dispatch will be the first Anderson film released by Disney in over fifteen years. The last time that happened was with 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which the Mouse House distributed through Touchstone Pictures.
Interestingly, there are a number of prominent actors (Saoirse Ronan, Henry Winkler, Elisabeth Moss, Kate Winslet, Willem Dafoe, and so on) who were previously said to be playing roles in The French Dispatch, but aren't listed in Fox Searchlight's announcement. However, that doesn't mean they aren't in the film. After all, Anderson has a history of casting big names to show up for a single scene in his movies by now, like when Natalie Portman briefly cameoed in The Darjeeling Limited (after starring in its prequel short, Hotel Chevalier). Clearly, some actors are eager enough to collaborate with Anderson that they will agree to play even minor roles in his movies - and seeing as The French Dispatch has something of an anthology format, there could be a whole lot of those to go around.
The French Dispatch does not have an official 2020 release date yet.
Source: Fox Searchlight