Wes Anderson is to make a second adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, 12 years after the success of his stop-motion version of Fantastic Mr Fox. The production is backed by Netflix, which recently purchased the rights to Dahl’s full catalogue.
According to Daily Mail reporter Baz Bamigboye, Anderson is to direct an adaptation of the short story The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, first published in 1977, about a gambler who studies meditation to acquire the ability to see through cards – and then opens a string of orphanages with his winnings. Benedict Cumberbatch will play the title role. Deadline reports that Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Ben Kingsley are also lined up to appear, and that the film may take the form of an anthology, incorporating other stories from the same 1977 collection.
Netflix acquired Dahl’s full catalogue from the Roald Dahl Story Company in September 2021 after licensing 16 of Dahl’s best-known titles in 2018; this original agreement, Netflix said at the time, alerted the company to the possibility of the “creation of a unique universe across animated and live-action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre consumer products and more”. Already in development are two TV series from Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Oompa Loompas – and an animated series based on The Twits. Forthcoming feature films include an adaptation of the stage musical of Matilda starring Emma Thompson and directed by Matthew Warchus.
Also in production is Wonka, an “origins” story featuring Timothée Chalamet as the young Willy Wonka; the licensing agreement with Warner Bros to make this film predates the Netflix deal.
Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox was released in 2009 and featured George Clooney and Meryl Streep; described by the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw as “eccentric, whip-smart and very funny”, it was a moderate financial success and was nominated for two Oscars.