Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Poster


Premiered two days after Where the Wild Things Are (2009). Both films are based on popular children's books and directed by cult indie directors.
Jump to: Director Trademark (1) | Spoilers (4)
Wes Anderson chose to have the actors record their dialogue outside of a studio and on location to increase the naturalness: "We went out in a forest, went in an attic, went in a stable... we went underground for some things. There was a great spontaneity in the recordings because of that."
The color scheme of the movie is primarily autumnal (yellows, oranges, and browns) with virtually no green and blue. However, Kristofferson's blue-colored wardrobe was intentional, as it emphasized his being a visiting outsider.
The original story was written at a dark time in Roald Dahl's life. He had already lost one of his five children to measles and witnessed another one suffer from water on the brain as the result of a car accident. It was only natural that he would be spurred on to write a tale portraying the father as a protector of the family.
Shot digitally using a Nikon D3, which offers a significantly higher resolution than even that of full High Definition. It was also shot at a frame rate of 12 frames per second, rather than the more fluid 24, so that viewers would notice the medium of stop-motion itself.
The last film to use the 20th Century Fox logo from 1994.
Altogether, 535 puppets were made for the film. Mr. Fox had 17 different styles alone, and each of Mr. Fox's styles had to be done in six different sizes. He has 102 puppets alone.
Kristofferson's unaccompanied minor badge reads, "Name: Kristofferson Silverfox. Height: 42cm (tall - for a cub). Weight: 3.5kg. Allergies: None. Reason for travel: Ill father."
This movie is composed of almost 56,000 shots.
During one of the outdoor dialogue recording sessions, a best take was almost ruined by the sound of a nearby boat. Open to the randomness, Wes Anderson modified the scene in the film to include an airplane flying through the shot. Anderson said, "I think it was better with the airplane than without... a flaw in the recording gave us a new idea."
Roald Dahl allegedly fashioned Mr Fox after himself.
Throughout the film, the word "cuss" is used in place of actual cursing. When asked about its origin in a radio interview on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, Wes Anderson said, "I don't even remember. It think it was just to use the concept of profanity as a replacement for profanity itself. It turned out to be very versatile." In keeping with this theme, one of the buildings seen in the film bears "CUSS" written as spray-painted graffiti.
The characters seem to break the fourth wall by being able to read the title cards for each scene, Ash seems to know what Mr. fox and Kylie are up to from reading the title card for the scene, and Bunce seems to be reading the time card that says how long Mr. fox and his friends and family have gone without food or water, prompting to ask how long they can go without any.
Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" was the first book Wes Anderson owned. His mother, Texas Ann Burroughs, bought it for him at the St. Francis book fair in Austin, Texas when he was about seven years old. Anderson has kept this same copy on his bookshelf ever since.
CGI is only used in one scene, the flooding of the flint mine.
The look of the film was inspired by Great Missenden, a village in Buckinghamshire, England, where Roald Dahl lived and worked. The tree where the Fox family lives is based on a prominent beech tree on Dahl's property, and Mr Fox's study recreates in minute detail the interior of the famous garden hut in which Dahl did most of his writing.
Anderson wanted to use real animal hair for all of the animal puppets, even though it meant that the hair would appear to ripple unnaturally in the film due to the puppeteers handling the models between frames. This rippling was apparently intentional.
The film was critically acclaimed and even had a held over run from the Thanksgiving to the 2009 holiday season, but was not a huge hit financially, and and not all that popular with General audiences.
This is Wes Anderson's first film that did not feature one of his signature slow motion sequences.
According to Meryl Streep, when she was in London filming Mamma Mia! (2008) in summer 2007, she stayed in an apartment block in central London, and one night she noticed a fox out of her bathroom window. Both Streep and the fox, stone still, stared at each other for twelve minutes. Mesmerized by this experience, she used it as inspiration for her performance.
Rat's death was almost re-shot because the MPAA thought it showed rat bleeding to death and Mr. Fox made him drink his own blood. (it's actually all sewer sludge )
In the months preceding the opening of the film, controversy arose concerning the little time that director Wes Anderson actually spent on set, choosing to direct the animation via e-mail from his flat in Paris. In an October 2009 Los Angeles Times article, cinematographer Tristan Oliver was quoted as saying, "I think he's a little O.C.D. Contact with people disturbs him. This way, he can spend an entire day locked inside an empty room with a computer. He's a bit like The Wizard of Oz (1939). Behind the curtain." Informed of Oliver's discontent, Anderson said, "I would say that kind of crosses the line for what's appropriate for the director of photography to say behind the director's back while he's working on the movie. So I don't even want to respond to it." On the Wes Anderson fan website The Rushmore Academy (named after Anderson's film Rushmore (1998),) Oliver criticized the article's tone, stating that it made him out to be a villain: "Yes, working with Wes can be frustrating but that is true of any director and I've worked with a hundred who were more irritating and less motivated than Wes. So let's just lay the ghost of this particular myth and oh, it would be nice if the death threats stopped too. Thanks."
The titles and text used in the production design are in Helvetica Bold. All previous Wes Anderson movies have utilized Futura Bold.
Wes Anderson's first family film. Although it still contains many of the trademarks of his live-action films, family dysfunction, colourful palettes, etc.
Film debut of chef Mario Batali, who voices Rabbit. Rabbit wears an orange neckerchief, which echoes Batali's penchant for wearing orange shorts and Crocs. On the Fox Searchlight website for the film, there was even a recipe made available, courtesy of Batali, for Mrs. Bean's Famous Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps.
20th century fox did consider making Mr. fox the company mascot but decided not to because of how the idea was too similar to a joke once made on Matt Groening's The Simpsons.
According to Henry Selick, Wes Anderson would act out scenes while in Paris and send them to the animators via his iPhone.
Mr. Fox's implanting of sleeping powder into blueberries for unsuspecting guard dogs to consume was taken from another Roald Dahl book, 'Danny the Champion of the World', in which raisins were used similarly on unsuspecting pheasants. When the Dahl attorneys learned of this, they wanted it removed. But because it had already been filmed, Wes Anderson pleaded with them and was able to keep it in the film.
Ash's ear twitching was based on a gesture most foxes (and domestic canines)do to show aggression and/or displeasure.
Though the cover of Ash's comic reads "white cape vs black dog" there is speculation that he is actually reading Art Spigelman's Maus, the pages inside are very similar in color and design to Maus, and a picture on the back is a direct image from the book itself.
One of two films released in 2009 to feature a talking fox. The other was Lars von Trier's controversial Antichrist (2009). Both films feature actor Willem Dafoe.
George Clooney's first starring role in animated film.
When Ash and Mr. Fox are in the sewer talking ash is sitting still staring down the viewer, this is what is commonly known as the "Kubrick stare" a technique developed by Stanley Kubrick and the director would often use it when a character had to be intimidating or unsettling.
The human characters' hair was actual human hair collected from studio employees at MacKinnon & Saunders, the company that manufactured the puppets for the film.
The train that can be seen passing in the background sometimes is the same one in Ash's bedroom, it's scale was changed using the previously obsolete film technique of forced perspective.
In the original book humans and animals never directly interact with one other so it is never clear if they can understand each other, here they clearly can When Mr. Fox asks Bean if he brought the boy, Bean reply's and clearly understands him.
Mr. Fox's wardrobe was based on Wes Anderson's own brown corduroy suits.
It took 7 months to perfect the very first Mr. Fox puppet.
The noticeable pauses and slower action in the stop motion is an homage to the Rankin Bass Stop motion holiday specials of the 60's and 70's.
The original illustrations by Quentin Blake made the farmers (especially bean) look more like stereotypical "Hicks" dressed in grimy overalls and and caps as opposed to the more refined and gentleman like design featured in the film.
Development began in 2004 at Revolution Studios between Wes Anderson and animation director Henry Selick, who had worked with Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) (and who had directed another stop-motion animated film based on a Roald Dahl work, James and the Giant Peach (1996).) When Revolution folded, Selick left the project to direct Coraline (2009), and was replaced by Mark Gustafson.
Portions of the audio version of the book can be heard in the film. The music Bunce is listening to on headphones when Mr Fox first steals from his farm is the theme music from the audio book.
The voices were recorded at a farm house in Connecticut, which was owned by a friend of director Wes Anderson. Willem Dafoe's dialog, however, was recorded in Paris at a later date.
The gun held by Franklin Bean is an Artillery Luger, which is a rare German 9mm Luger produced in WWI and WWII that included an 8 inch barrel a removable stock and a 32 round drum magazine.
The film's cinematography has a lot of homages to classic 2D traditional animation, such as the flat dimensional perspective, and the panning down shots such as those in the fox's tree and the sewer.
When reciting the Latin names of each animal, Mr. Fox says he doesn't know the one for opossum. It is Didelphis virginiana.
The American Cathedral in Paris's choir were hired to sing the "Boggis, Bunce and Bean" limerick. They were recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, England, in Studio Two, which is most famous for having been where The Beatles recorded almost all of their music.
The first animated film distributed by Regency Pictures, the first stop-motion animated film for 20th Century Fox, and the first animated film for Fox Searchlight Pictures since Waking Life (2001).
Two songs from Disney productions can be heard in the film.
The door in the science lab reads: "Co-ed, all species / ELEMENTARY CHEMISTRY / Grade: 6 ¾ / Miss Muskrat's Class".
The song Mole plays on the piano is actually Art Tatum's recording of the Cole Porter song "Night and Day". The use of this recording is something of an inside joke, as Tatum was blind and moles are known for having very poor vision.
Mr Fox's suits were modeled on the same suits that Wes Anderson wears, with the animators obtaining fabric swatches from Anderson's tailor.
At one point during production, Wes Anderson had 29 units all working simultaneously for him.
Franklin Bean's walkie-talkie is all but identical to the U.S. BC-611 (or SCR-536), which saw widespread use in WWII and was the first hand-held two-way radio.
Early versions of the film cast Jarvis Cocker as an on-screen narrator, which baffled test audiences. Cocker said in an interview with the Observer, "I may turn up as a DVD extra in the future." In the theatrical cut, Cocker's spoken (not sung) dialogue is reduced to one line.
The inspiration for the naming of the character Kristofferson came from singer, songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson, not only because both Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach are fans of his work, but also because they simply liked the name.
Kylie's World Traveler Titanium Card (which he lends to Mr. Fox to open a deadbolt lock) has the number "3737 321345 61008". Valid from 10/06 to 10/10, it also gives his full name as "Kylie Sven Opossum".
Felicity (Mrs Fox) was named after Roald Dahl's widow.
Before he runs up the man hole Rabbit blesses himself saying "domino Santa Maria" literally a prayer to the virgin Mary in Latin.
Third adaptation of a Roald Dahl Story to be done using animation and the second to use stop motion animation.
Tim Burton and Henry Selick where both at one point attached to the production, both of them had previously worked on stop motion animation before.
According to an interview Wes Anderson for 'The Treatment' with Elvis Mitchell, the look of the film was inspired by the artwork by Donald Chaffin for the original book by Roald Dahl.
Despite being the secondary and tertiary villains, Boggis and Bunce only say 3-4 lines each for 4 scenes, they have the least lines of the entire main cast.
Several bits of dialogue come word for word from the original story. e.g. "got the tail but missed the fox".
The villains seem modified from their original personalities in the book, Boggis and Bunce stay calm and collected through most of the film, Bean only loses his temper and has an outburst once, and their is no mention of Bean being filthy and smelly from never washing or bathing as it was described in the book, he also seems to have all his teeth unlike the book which hinted at him missing some.
When Mr. Fox and Kylie are in Fox's study going over the plans for the first heist, Fox is sitting in a large armchair with a board on the armrests that he is using as a table for his microphone. This is exactly how Roald Dahl used to write his stories based on old photographs.
The character of Kylie was based on a handyman (named Kylie) who was living in Wes Anderson's New York apartment when he purchased it from the painter Larry Rivers: "After I bought it, he continued to live there while the place was gutted, but eventually I had to ask him to move out."
The posters hanging on the walls in the science lab were all painted with translucent materials. This way, they would light up when the scene was shot.
The film was one of the fist films to require "Smoking" as one of it's content reasons in its rating information.
Roald Dahl is one of Wes Anderson's heroes.
Film debut of Hugo Guinness, who voices Bunce. Wes Anderson is a fan of Guinness, a British artist whose work can be seen on the walls of the Tenenbaums' house in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).
To protect his costume between shooting, the lower half of Ash's body had to be wrapped in cling film.
To keep their contents from evaporating, the test tubes in the science lab scene were all filled with fruit jelly with a various assortment of colors.
Bean has more then a passing resemblance to Roald Dahl.
The launch film for the 2009 London Film Festival.
The text seen on the paper that Mr. Fox is reading (The one that contains the advertisement for bandit hats), consists of parts from Roald Dahl's book 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' itself.
During the battle in the town near the end of the film, we see the signs of several businesses. One sign, "Dutronc Detective", is in the same shape and neon style as a well-known sign in Paris, "Deluc Detective". As Wes Anderson directed much of the film from Paris, it is certainly possible that he saw this distinctive sign and wanted to reference it in the film. The name references Jacques Dutronc, French musician and actor.
Production began in London in 2007.
The source material makes up roughly and hour of the films running time before going into a tangent of its own story that is Wes Anderson's own ideas.
For the moving water, Wes Anderson used saran wrap, and for the smoke, cotton balls.
In the scene in the beginning where Mr Fox and Felicity are infiltrating the farm, 3 different sized puppets are used.
It was rumored that Cate Blanchett was originally the voice of Mrs. Fox, but was replaced by Meryl Streep. According to Wes Anderson, however, he had only spoken to Blanchett about the part around the time of filming The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), but never got further than that: "I think that was on the internet before it was really meant to be. For a long time there were versions of the cast out there that were not very accurate."
Marks the first appearance of The Beach Boys' music in a Wes Anderson film. Anderson had originally thought of using their recording of "Sloop John B" for the final scene in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), but later changed his mind.
The red facade of the "Little Theatre" in the scene where Mr. Fox throws burning pines is modeled after the real Little Theatre in Bath, Somerset.
The song "Looking For A Fox" by Clarence Carter was featured in the first trailer, though it doesn't appear in the film.
Featured in the film are three songs sung by Burl Ives. Ives voiced Sam the Snowman in Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), a stop-motion animated production by Rankin-Bass that influenced the style of this film. Furthermore, all three of the songs featured in the film were first released on Ives' 1960 album "Burl Ives Sings Little White Duck and Other Children's Favorites".
At one time, it was rumored that Brad Pitt would make a voice cameo appearance. During the making of the film, Wes Anderson directed Pitt in a 30-second TV advertisement for Japanese cellphone company Softbank Mobile.
The version of "Ol' Man River" by The Beach Boys used in the film is actually a combination of two versions: the first half is taken from the 2002 rarities compilation "Hawthorne, CA: Birthplace of a Musical Legacy" (which is the version available on the "Fantastic Mr. Fox" soundtrack,) while the second half is taken from a medley entitled "Old Folks At Home/Ol' Man River", available on the "Friends/20/20" two-fer.

Director Trademark 

Wes Anderson:  [The Rolling Stones]  Features "Street Fighting Man".


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach worked on the screenplay at Gipsy House which was Roald Dahl's estate. They added a new beginning and ending, adapting the latter part of the story (the war scenario) as the main plot. Unsatified with the book's ending, they found a that the author's original manuscript contained a different ending, with sketches, taking place in a supermarket. Anderson later said, "That was awfully lucky, because we needed a new ending".
The scene in which Rat and Mr. Fox fight to the death originally included Rat making reference to his wristwatch, stating, "I've still got the watch . . . She never asked for it back," referring to Mrs. Fox. The dialogue was inspired by an actual onstage aside from Keith Richards to Eric Clapton at a rehearsal of a concert staged by Sheryl Crow, which was witnessed by Wes Anderson. However, the scene was ultimately changed for the final film.
When everyone toasts with juice boxes in the supermarket at the end of the film, Ash is the only one holding a grape juice box, as opposed to the others' apple juice boxes.
At one point in the film, Mrs. Fox tells Ash that he has "29 minutes to come up with a proper apology" for Kristofferson. In terms of the film's run time, his apology actually occurs approximately 39 minutes later.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page