Wes Anderson Won’t Do “Woke” Changes for Netflix

in Movies

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, the Wes Anderson Netflix adaptation

Credit: Netflix

Wes Anderson has come out against changing classic works of art to suit more “woke” times and opinions, even if it was for Netflix.

Fantastic Mr Fox stop motion film by Wes Anderson
Credit: 20th Century Studios

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, Wes Anderson’s upcoming film for Netflix, is the director’s second adaptation of Roald Dahl, the famed British author behind works like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and The BFG (1982).

His first adaptation, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), was a stop-motion animated film featuring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, and perennial Wes Anderson star Bill Murray. Although Anderson is firmly against an author’s work being altered by outside sources, his version of Fantastic Mr. Fox was heavily expanded in adaptation.

Related: Op-Ed: It’s Time to Talk About Johnny Depp’s Worst Role Ever

Wes Anderson, Netflix, and Roald Dahl

In the last year, publishers have begun editing a number of written works by authors like Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame) to remove offensive language and antiquated racial stereotypes. Naturally, this has been decried by many as unnecessarily “woke” and damaging to the legacy of the authors.

Scarlett Johansson in Wes Anderson's 'Asteroid City'
Credit: Focus Features

At the 80th Venice International Film Festival, Wes Anderson (who was there promoting his new Netflix project) gave his opinion on the subject. The filmmaker said, “I’m probably the worst person to ask about this because if you ask me if Renoir should be allowed to touch up one of his pictures, I would say no. It’s done.”

The Asteroid City (2023) filmmaker added (per Deadline), ” I don’t even want the artist to modify their work. I understand the motivation for it, but I’m in the school where when the piece of work is done we participate in it. We know it. So I think when it’s done, it’s done…And certainly no one who is not an author should be modifying somebody’s book. He’s dead.”

‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’

Wes Anderson’s new Netflix project, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, is based on a 1977 Roald Dahl story of the same name and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, Rupert Friend, and Richard Ayoade.

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Fantastic Mr Fox stop motion film by Wes Anderson
Credit: 20th Century Studios

In contrast to Fantastic Mr. Fox and the various adaptations of Willy Wonka, Wes Anderson’s new film is an adaptation of Roald Dahls’ adult-oriented work, which will be interesting to see. Although thought of primarily as a children’s author, Dahl is known for darkly humorous, often extremely bleak, and graphic short stories for adults, so it will be interesting to see how Anderson handles it with his new project.

Do you think deceased authors’ work should be edited for “woke” content? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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