Wes Anderson is a fastidious filmmaker. We all know this. It’s hard not to watch one of his confectionary creations, full of symmetrical images, controlled performances, and impeccable production design and come away with any other conclusion. But I would not call the auteur a maker of “epic movies.” Until now. Because the composer of his latest film The French Dispatch, maestro Alexandre Desplat, just revealed to IndieWire how epic Anderson’s scope gets.
“I saw the finished version of ‘The French Dispatch’ quite a while ago, and it’s just amazing,” gushed Desplat, making every film fan jealous in the process. The film, about the branch of a newspaper that covers a fictional French town, might be “even bigger than ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’” according to Desplat. He continued:
Not gonna lie: The idea of a Wes Anderson movie made by Anderson’s brain on fast-forward sounds intriguing. Anderson’s ensemble cast is even more stacked than usual — Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson, just to name a few — so it makes sense that he’d give them a lot to do.
Desplat’s comparison to Grand Budapest Hotel also offers us some hints toward French Dispatch‘s creative purview. That film featured alternating timelines, narratives within narratives, and even multiple aspect ratios. Is French Dispatch gonna get even wilder? Desplat certainly thinks so, calling the film “very Dadaist,” referring to the 20th century art movement that rejected anything approaching convention or normalcy. “I had Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, and a great deal of music that I could refer to in order to make sure that we were in the zone of that Dadaist mood,” continued Desplat, cementing The French Dispatch as “a film that is custom made for me, Gregory Lawrence.”
Desplat also offered some tasty morsels about another unorthodox project from a celebrated auteur: Guillermo del Toro‘s stop-motion musical Pinocchio, starring performers like Ewan McGregor, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton yet again. The film is a straight-up musical, a fact which excited Desplat greatly:
Guillermo is very excited about the project, and what I’ve seen of the stop-motion animation is just beautiful. But for me it was really nice to be able to write songs for him. I wrote a lot of songs in France between 1985 and 2004 when I started doing movies in America, but after that I never had the opportunity. So this is a great film for me because there were seven or eight songs to write — it’s very difficult, but it helps when you have actors who can sing.
As for Black Widow, the MCU movie Desplat was originally booked to score before being replaced by Lorne Balfe? He only revealed this, with a touch of subtextual salt: “I was attached to that movie, and then I was detached.”
For more tantalizing previews of The French Dispatch, here’s a damn trailer already!