Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” is having its theatrical release delayed from July 24 to October 16. The move shifts Anderson’s latest into the thick of awards season. The majority of Anderson’s recent releases have all been in the spring or summer, including “Isle of Dogs,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Moonrise Kingdom.” The original July 24 release date led many in the film industry to believe Searchlight would world premiere “The French Dispatch” at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, but that event has been postponed until future dates that still haven’t been determined.
“The French Dispatch” is being billed as Anderson’s “love letter to journalists.” The comedy-drama is set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th Century French city. The newspaper’s editors gather to pick three stories from their publication to republish in tribute of their late editor in chief. Anderson brings the three news stories to life in what is his first anthology movie. The ensemble cast includes Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Elisabeth Moss, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Owen Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Tony Revolori, and more.
Variety reported in January “The French Dispatch” carries a $25 million production budget, which puts it at the same cost of “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The $25 million budget makes it one of Anderson's priciest live-action films. The project boasts regular Anderson collaborators like cinematographer Robert Yeoman, composer Alexandre Desplat, and editor Andrew Weisblum. Anderson’s Oscar-winning “Grand Budapest” production designer Adam Stockhausen is also on board, and he revealed last month the crew took over a felt factor in France and turned it into a movie studio for the production.
“Outside of town, we found this derelict felt factory, which sounds absurdly appropriate in retrospect but at the time, it seemed perfectly normal like, 'Yeah! Felt factory!’” Stockhausen said in a statement. “So we took this place over and turned the entire thing DIY style into a movie studio, and we took over the different rooms of it and we made one of them a prop storage and another one became a carpentry mill and another one became the sculpture room, and another one became set dressing, and the three biggest ones became our stages.”
“The French Dispatch” will open in theaters October 16.
The 2006 Oscars will forever be remembered as the infamous ceremony where “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. Ang Lee’s groundbreaking gay romance was the critical favorite and it won three of the eight Oscars it was nominated for that year: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Headlining actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The actors were asked to present during the 2007 Oscars telecast, but Gyllenhaal revealed in a recent interview with Another Man magazine via NME that Ledger turned down the opportunity because it would mean making jokes at the expense of the gay “Brokeback” love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, 'Oh, okay... whatever.' I'm always like, ‘It's all in good fun.’ And Heath said, 'It's not a joke to me — I don't want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal, “That's the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, 'No. This is about love. Like, that's it, man. Like, no.'”
Ledger was nominated in the Best Actor category but lost to “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gyllenhaal lost to George Clooney in “Syriana” for Best Supporting Actor. “Brokeback Mountain” marked the first Oscar nominations for both actors. Ledger would go on to be nominated and win his Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor race for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Ledger received the Academy Award posthumously. “Brokeback” remains Gyllenhaal’s sole Oscar nomination to date.
Gyllenhaal has previously spoken about Ledger’s disdain for “Brokeback Mountain” jokes, but this is the first time the actor has revealed his late co-star turned down the Oscars. Gyllenhaal told “Today” in July 2019 that “Brokeback” marked a pivotal moment in his career. “It opened tons of doors,” he said. “It was crazy. It was amazing. It's defined my career in different ways. [But the film] is bigger than me...It has become not ours anymore. It's the world's.”
Read Gyllenhaal’s latest interview in its entirety on the Another Man website.