W MAGAZINE – To soundtrack his holiday ad for H&M, Wes Anderson chose John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” and apparently that wasn’t the only collaboration between Anderson and Ono on tap.
The director formally announced his next project today. It’s an animated film called Isle of Dogs, and true to Anderson’s style, the voice cast is made up of a roster of A-list talent from all over the arts and entertainment spectrum. Most notably is the edition of Ono, her first voice acting role in a major film. It’s also her first acting gig since appearing as herself in a 1995 episode of Mad About You. She might have got a kick out of her appearance on The Simpsons, but she didn’t even voice herself that time.
The rest of the cast is made up of Anderson regulars including Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban, Edward Norton, and, of course, Bill Murray, who has appeared in every single one of the director’s films since 1998’s Rushmore.
In addition to Ono, newcomers to the Anderson-verse include Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Courtney B. Vance, Liev Schreiber and Greta Gerwig. The cast also includes Akira Ito, Akira Takayama and Koyu Rankin.
Anderson made the official announcement today in a vlog-style video that includes a cameo from Norton. The actor plays “Rex,” who he clarifies is “one of the lead dogs.” There’s about a second-long preview of what “Rex” looks like in the preview as well.
The world isn’t exactly hurting for more animated movies with celebrities voicing talking dogs. We already have All Dogs Go To Heaven, Cats & Dogs, Oliver and Company, The Secret Lives of Pets, Beverly Hills Chihuahua…well, let’s just say, it’s not exactly and undermined genre. (Although Pets was one of the year’s top-grossing movies.) What exactly is Wes Anderson going to bring new to the format aside from Yoko Ono?
Well, it takes place in England, and that’s about all Anderson had to say about the actual plot.
Anderson is also raffling off the chance for a fan to voice one of the dogs in the film. The $10 raffle tickets will benefit Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation so there’s that.
This will be Anderson’s first film since 2014’s Grand Budapest Hotel and his first animated feature since 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. No word on when the film will be released, but production is already underway.
NEW YORK TIMES – The movie business is changing. Women have become increasingly visible as directors (Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko, Ava DuVernay) and successful producers (Reese Witherspoon’s production company Pacific Standard scored huge hits with “Gone Girl” and “Wild”; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar in 2016 for the documentary short “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”). Yet many actresses are still paid less than their male peers, and the Academy Awards of 2016 were widely criticized for the lack of nonwhite nominees.
Only a few A-list actresses have been celebrated for their ability to throw punches or show menace on the screen, but that’s beginning to change as well. Scarlett Johansson, 32, received critical acclaim for her role as an alien on the hunt in “Under the Skin” and will appear in 2017 as a crime-fighting policewoman in “Ghost in the Shell.” Her superstar turn as the Black Widow in “The Avengers” series has helped to make her the highest-grossing actress of all time, pulling in over $3.3 billion for movie studios, according to Box Office Mojo. Still, as of this fall, she was the only woman in the top 20 on Mojo’s list.
In an interview, Ms. Johansson discusses how women’s roles in real life are changing their roles in film. The conversation has been edited and abridged.
The world has watched you grow up on screen — you started so early. Over the course of that time, the roles available to women in real life have changed a lot. Is the process of filmmaking starting to reflect that?
We see more female directors, more women in various departments on set. If you looked around a film set even 10 years ago, it was basically a bunch of dudes; maybe in the wardrobe department or in the hair and makeup department there would be women. Now you see more female camera assistants, cinematographers, grips.
In the job that I’m on now, “Rock That Body,” there are a number of women working as crew members, as opposed to many other productions that I’ve been on.
Is this changing the experience of acting for you?
It’s nice to have a diverse group of people so that it doesn’t become so one-note — to have a female energy on set, to have different types of people and different vibes, and a more balanced creative environment.
DEADLINE – Sony’s raunchy comedy Rock That Body is going earlier and now will debut on June 16 instead of June 23. Whenever pics move up, it shows the distributor is confident about the product, and in this case Sony moves the all-star Scarlett Johansson-Kate McKinnon-Zoe Kravitz comedy in a corridor where it’s the adult choice for the weekend against Disney/Pixar’s Cars 3. Had Rock That Body stayed on June 23, it would have been fighting five-quad sequel Transformers: The Last Knight.