The French Dispatch finally has a release date

With a premiere date now finally set, here's everything we know so far about the Timothée Chalamet-starring comedy. 

by Tom George
21 May 2021, 9:45am

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

The opportunity to watch the Timothée Chalamet-starring, Wes Anderson-directed movie The French Dispatch seems to finally be in sight. And we’ve got the Cannes Film Festival to thank for that. The prestigious movie event will be going ahead IRL this year, and the festival’s artistic direct Thierry Fremaux has announced the movie will be on its official line-up.

The movie has had a chaotic journey to release thus far. Originally planned to debut at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival in May last year, before hitting cinemas the following July, the festival and indeed the movie were indefinitely shelved as the Coronavirus pandemic ended public events and local cinema trips for the foreseeable. But a new US release date has finally been announced: 22 October 2021.

Now that the idea of watching the movie within the comfort of a cinema is in sight once more, we can finally get excited about this all-star ensemble on our screens. Here’s everything you need to know about The French Dispatch: what it’s about, who’s in it, is there a trailer and when we can expect to see it.

What’s it about?

The French Dispatch -- or The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun --  follows the outpost of an American newspaper set within the fictional 20th century French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé, as it prepares for the release of its final publication. Described as “a love letter to journalists”, the comedy-drama will also bring to life some of the stories within the final issue that are inspired by real life events. These include the the May 1968 Student Occupation Protests and the story of legendary art dealer Lord Duveen. We also know that the movie will be spicy, having already been rated R in the US for “graphic nudity, some sexual references and language”.

Who’s in it?

i-D favourite and Wonka star Timothée Chalamet will be playing a revolution-leading student. Alongside him is a huge all-star ensemble cast that includes Benicio Del Toro, Léa Seydoux and Adrien Brody as an incarcerated artist, prison guard and infamous art dealer respectively. Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Elisabeth Moss, Bill Murray and Jeffrey Wright will all appear as editorial staff, alongside appearances from Willem DaFoe, Anjelica Houston and Liev Schreiber amongst many, many more.

Who’s behind the camera?

With Wes Anderson diving into all three chairs as director, producer and screenwriter, expect deadpan dialogue, frantic action, symmetrical scenery and satisfying colour palettes. Wes’ go-to cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman has ensures his visual hallmarks remain in tact, while Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat has crafted the score.

Is there a trailer?


When is it being released?

With the news that the Cannes Film Festival 2021 will indeed be going ahead this July, director of the event Thierry Fremaux confirmed that the Wes Anderson movie would be among the line-up, having been part of the postponed 2020 selection. “Regarding films, I, of course, won’t tell you any titles, except the films that we all know were already selected from last year, including by Wes Anderson (The French Dispatch) and Paul Verhoeven (Benedetta). They will be back in the official selection,” he said in an interview with Rappler.

From there, the movie will have its US premiere at the New York Film Festival in early October, before finally hitting US movie theatres on 22 October 2021.

This story was updated on 28 May to include the US release date for The French Dispatch.

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Wes Anderson
Cannes Film Festival
Timothée Chalamet
the french dispatch