Wes Anderson to Direct Netflix's First Roald Dahl Movie, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Having acquired the publishing catalog of children's author Roald Dahl last year Netflix isn't wasting any time in getting their first project off the ground. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Wes Anderson, who previously adapted Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox, will direct a feature adaptation of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Anderson and Netflix also already have their titular lead with Benedict Cumberbatch set to take on the role. The film's cast also has Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley attached but their roles remain uncertain at this time. The original text was published in 1977 and features both fictional and non-fictional pieces by Dahl.

According to the trade, Anderson has penned the script and will make it his next directorial effort with production set to start later this month in the UK. Cumberbatch will not only star as Henry Sugar in the film though but will also reportedly appear as "a link to the other stories" by taking on "multiple roles" in the movie. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More will mark Anderson's eleventh feature film as a director and his second Dahl adaptation. The film will also be the first collaboration between the filmmaker and Cumberbatch, Patel, and Kingsley. Ralph Fiennes previously starred in Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel back in 2014.

If we're getting technical this isn't the first Dahl-based project that Netflix has been working on, but it is the first that they'll be getting in front of cameras since the deal was made. Prior to fully acquiring the Dahl books Netflix had made deals to develop shows based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Oompa Loompa characters, plus a live-action version of Matilda based on the Broadway musical, in addition to many others.

"Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl's stories," said Roald Dahl's widow, Felicity Dahl, in a previous statement. "This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move toward making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled."

What remains unclear about Netflix acquiring Dahl's catalog is what it means for studios that own the film rights to some of the stories due to previous deals. Warner Bros for instance is developing a 2023 Willy Wonka movie with Timothée Chalamet in the title role, but considering Netflix is already working on its animated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory series it would appear that they could have some free reign.


(Cover photo credit by Vera Anderson/WireImage