everything we know about wes anderson’s ‘isle of dogs’

From Yoko Ono's role to Anderson's inspirations.

by Emily Kirkpatrick
26 April 2017, 10:30pm

Poster for 'isle of dogs'

A year and a half after giving us our first look at his latest film, Wes Anderson is back with another exciting, if inscrutable, teaser for the impending Isle of Dogs.

Over the course of his 20-plus year career, the director's unmistakable aesthetic has almost become a parody of itself, thanks to Anderson's unshakably singular vision. In fact, with his love of a fisheye lens, deadpan dialogue, kitschy design, and 1960s pop, you can probably go ahead and credit Wes for that slightly twee millennial aesthetic that's been dominating your Instagram feed for the past five years or so. Anderson is also the man responsible for keeping Owen Wilson consistently employed since 1998.

And now, after much anticipation and speculation, the master of mise en scène has returned with another supersaturated technicolor world of his own creation, teasing his forthcoming film Isle of Dogs this week with the release of an official poster and a 2018 premiere date. While facts about the film are still remarkably scarce, here's every detail we know about Isle of Dogs so far.

It's a stop-motion film.
This is the first time Anderson has returned to the stop-motion medium since his debut foray into animation with Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009. The plot will follow a boy on a mission to find his lost dog. The poster also features a pile of plane rubble and a person dressed in a pilot suit and parachute, suggesting there will also be some sort of crash landing involved.

This is Anderson's longest break between film releases.
If you've been feeling a serious absence of Wes in your life, it's not just your imagination. This film ends the longest break the director has taken between the release of two films since the start of his career. While Anderson had been regularly making movies every one to three years since the debut of his short film Bottle Rocket in 1994, by the time Isle of Dogs comes out in 2018 it will have been four full years since his last feature-length film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

It's set in Japan.
Hence the entire movie poster, including the film's title, being in Japanese. (Thankfully, there are English subtitles.) The director has also said this story is heavily influenced by the work of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

It was inspired by Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas specials.
For those unfamiliar with this American yuletide tradition, Rankin-Bass specials are a collection of classic holiday stop-motion films from the 60s and 70s that start airing ad nauseam on television around the beginning of December, and include family favorites such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Year Without a Santa Claus. In an interview with ArteTV, Anderson explained, "I really liked these TV Christmas specials in America. I always liked the creatures in the Harryhausen-type films, but really these American Christmas specials were probably the thing that really made me first want to do it."

This film may finally redeem Anderson in the eyes of dog lovers.
Fox terrier Snoopy in Moonrise Kingdom was hit by an arrow. Spitz in The Fantastic Mr. Fox eats poisonous blueberries. And then there was poor Buckley's untimely demise in The Royal Tenenbaums. It does seem like Wes isn't exactly a fan of canines. In fact, his relationship with the species is so bad it once inspired The New Yorker to pen an essay titled "Does Wes Anderson Hate Dogs?"

The cast is full of big names, though you won't see them onscreen.
While it remains unclear who will voice the boy in the film, celebrities set to voice dogs include: Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban, F. Murray Abraham, Frank Wood, Yoko Ono, Fisher Stevens, Courtney B. Vance, Mari Natsuki, Akira Ito, Yojiro Noda, Akira Takayama, and Kunichi Nomura. And those are just the actors who made it on the poster.

One lucky fan got a role in the movie.
Anderson teamed up with CrowdRise to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fans who donated $10 to Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation, an organization aimed at restoring and preserving film heritage. Anderson said in a video for the site, "The top [prize] is an invitation to come visit us on our set where we'll continue to be filming our story and even an opportunity to do a voice of, probably another dog, in the movie."

This film is 4/20 friendly.
At least, that's what the movie's release date implies. While Isle of Dogs isn't explicitly pro-cannabis, the poster reveals that it's set to debut on April 20 of next year. If you start hearing talking dogs next 4/20, for once, it won't be the pot that's to blame.

Related: The A-Z of Wes Anderson


Text Emily Kirkpatrick

Wes Anderson
Isle of dogs