Wes Anderson is speaking out about recent efforts to censor the work of Roald Dahl, the children's book author whose work has been adapted by the acclaimed filmmaker.
Anderson is currently at the Venice Film Festival premiering The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, an adaptation of one of Dahl's short stories that will debut on Netflix this fall. It marks the filmmaker's second take on a Dahl story following 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox. During a press conference, Anderson was asked how he feels about recent editions of Dahl's books that have been edited to remove language deemed offensive by "sensitivity readers."
"I don't even want the artist to modify their work," Anderson said, according to Variety. "I understand the motivation for it, but I am in the school where when the piece of work is done and the audience participates in it, we know it — I sort of think what's done is done."
He continued, "And certainly, no one besides the author should be modifying the work — he's dead."
Kristy Sparow/Getty Images Wes Anderson at the 2023 Venice Film Festival
Anderson went on to confirm that The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is just the first in an anthology of short films based on Dahl stories that will live on Netflix. He has already filmed three more: "Poison", "The Ratcatcher," and "Swan," the last of which hails from the same Dahl collection as "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar."
"The same cast is sort of swirled around," Anderson said. "We have Ralph [Fiennes], Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Ayoade, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley. They play different roles in different short films we made. Also Rupert Friend — he's not in Henry Sugar, but he's in two of the other ones that we made. So it is like a theater company."
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar will have a limited theatrical release starting on Sept. 20 before it hits Netflix on Sept. 27.
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