Wes Anderson’s latest take on Roald Dahl comes to Venice and Netflix this fall.
Anderson writes and directs the short film adaptation of Dahl’s 1977 story “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” Anderson previously helmed the Dahl adaptation “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which earned Oscar nominations for Animated Feature and Original Score in 2010.
Per the official synopsis, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is a beloved Roald Dahl story about a rich man who learns about a guru who can see without using his eyes and then sets out to master the skill in order to cheat at gambling.
Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, and Richard Ayoade star in the 39-minute short film, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival out of competition.
“For years I wanted to do ‘Henry Sugar,’” Anderson told IndieWire earlier this year. “They set this story aside for me because I was friends with them. Lindsay kind of handed the torch to Luke, Dahl’s grandson. So I had this waiting for me. But I really couldn’t figure out the approach. I knew what I liked in the story was the writing of it, Dahl’s words. I couldn’t find the answer, and then suddenly I did. It’s not a feature film. It’s like 37 minutes or something. But by the time I was ready to do it, the Dahl family no longer had the rights at all. They had sold the whole deal to Netflix.”
He continued, “Suddenly, in essence, there was nowhere else you could do it since they own it. But beyond it, because it’s a 37-minute movie, it was the perfect place to do it because it’s not really a movie. You know they used to do these BBC things called ‘Play for Today’ directed by people like Steven Frears and John Schlesinger and Alan Clarke. They were one hour programs or even less. I kind of envisioned something like that.”
Anderson also spoke about the choice to debut the film as a Netflix streaming title, adding, “It’s not quite the choice between a full-fledged cinema release and a streaming release because you would never distribute a short film like that and distribute it in cinemas. They’d have to sell cheaper tickets or do a double feature. I will say that while I had only a good experience with Netflix… I’m very happy to be putting ‘Asteroid City’ in cinemas. Focus and Universal are doing it the real cinema way. That’s the way I really want my movies to be shown.”
“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is produced by Anderson, Steven Rales, and Jeremy Dawson, with co-producers Octavia Peissel, John Peet, and Alice Dawson.
“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” will premiere on Netflix September 27. Check out the Venice poster below.