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Wes Anderson Will Try His Hand at the Movie Musical

The writer-director returns to live action, this time set in post-WWII France.
Wes Anderson
By  · Published on August 17th, 2018

The writer-director returns to live action, this time with a movie set in post-WWII France.

Fans of the always-unique Wes Anderson have had to be content with his most recent, and arguably appropriative, Isle of Dogs, as it had been four years since he gave us The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson has made a habit of making his audiences wait out his visually mesmerizing pictures, but his next project is likely to debut as early as 2019. This would be a record one-year gap between films for the writer-director. According to The Playlist:

All we know is that filming is set to begin either late 2018 or early 2019 and that means more information should be forthcoming in the upcoming weeks.

The timeline of this new movie is not the only thing generating buzz, however. The Playlist reports that Wes Anderson’s next project will actually be a musical — a first for him. Not only will he be trying his hand at the magic of a movie musical, but Anderson has allegedly set his film in 1940’s France. The story goes that Anderson has been filming in the French area Angoulême and that his story will take place shortly after the Second World War.

Anderson has apparently lived in France for some time in the past, and holds a great deal of love for the country. Seeing how this acquaintance with and admiration for France is translated on-screen will definitely add to the emotion of the story. Anderson always has some emotional, very human core to his remarkably whimsical films. The setting and time period of this new project are likely to fully bring out this unique quality.

The precise feeling of each set piece in his movies would do well in adding some emotive quality to the bleakness of 1940s European aesthetics. However, it might be a mistake to infuse the French landscape of his story with the bright colors of past films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, and Life Aquatic.

Even though the movie musical has, in the past, benefited greatly from colorful set design (the ornate Moulin Rouge, also set in past France, comes to mind immediately) Wes Anderson may, in fact, make an even greater impression on his audience by sticking to a more monochrome backdrop. This would contrast well with his past films and make the newer one stand out, as well as allow for a ramped-up level of drama in terms of the music and characters. Vibrant characters and backgrounds, as he is accustomed to, may become too much with the added musical element. A reduction in one would then emphasize the others.

It’s amazing the director has not yet made a musical at some point in his long, successful career. He has already established something of a brand for himself in terms of the artistic quality of his films, and this creative vision would be perfect for undertaking such a project. His symmetrical shots and inventive use of the camera would be fast-friends with a musical number. There’s such an unreal, magical quality about movie musicals as well, which fits his aesthetic perfectly.

As of yet there are no details about cast nor storyline, but knowing Wes Andersen there will be many a familiar face present. He has often used actors Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, and many other big-name stars. It’s almost become expected that several of Wes Anderson’s “regulars” will appear in his films, with many actors and actresses feeling like staple elements of his films just like his camerawork.

However, since this new film will be a musical, there comes the question of a diversion from Anderson’s usual casting. One may need to ascertain if Owen Wilson can sing before being confident in his presence in the post-WWII feature. Really sing, not like in Starsky & Hutch. Whether or not Wes Anderson sticks to his usual crowd (perhaps there exists some secret musical talent among them) or reaches out to actor-singers remains a mystery, much like the rest of the project.

This will be a new venture for the long-admired Anderson, and with how conflicting reports have been on its actual filming date we’ll just have to wait patiently for more exciting details on his upcoming musical.

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Kendall is a recent graduate and San Diego native who is passionate about the environment, writing, and above all else Keanu Reeves.