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Wes Anderson's 'Fox' will open AFI Fest 2009

September 24, 2009 | 11:18 am


Wes Anderson's animated feature debut, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," has been announced as the Opening Night Gala presentation at the 2009 AFI FEST by Audi.

The film, based on the much-loved children's book by Roald Dahl ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and a host of other marvelous titles for kids and adults), is both an eye-opening first venture into animation for quirky auteur Wes Anderson and a welcome reminder of the charm of handmade stop-motion animation.

Anderson's knack for blending an eclectic cast is in full effect here as well: George Clooney provides the voice of the adventurous Mr. Fox, who returns to his chicken-stealing ways after years of domesticity, while Meryl Streep is his wife and Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman his son. Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and WIllem Dafoe, who have each appeared in previous Anderson films, are also in the vocal cast, as well as Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" franchise) and ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. Anderson co-wrote the script with Noam Baumbach, his partner on "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

The AFI Fest Opening Night Gala takes place Oct. 30 at Grauman's Chinese Theater. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" opens in limited release Nov. 13 before expanding to more theaters Nov. 25. Your post-Thanksgiving entertainment is assured.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: 20th Century Fox