Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ is Inspired By Akira Kurosawa and Christmas Television Specials

Wes Anderson is finally back behind the camera and at work in London on his new film, “Isle of Dogs.” The movie, which brings the director back to the world of stop-motion animation after 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” is set in Japan and follows a young boy’s odyssey in search of his missing dog. But just because the movie is stop-motion doesn’t mean Anderson is going the family-friendly route again.

READ MORE: Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ Crowdfunding Campaign Raises Over $250k for Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation

During a wide-ranging discussion about his career at ARTE Cinema (via The Film Stage), Anderson remains quite tight-lipped about his upcoming film, though he did reveal two surprising sources of inspiration.

The first is Ray Harryhausen’s christmas television specials, which Anderson admitted to being obsessed with as a child. Harryhausen’s stop-motion model animation process called “Dynamation” was the main reason Anderson wanted to make animated films in the first place.

“I really liked these TV Christmas specials in America,” he explained. “I always liked the creatures in the Harryhausen-type films, but really these American Christmas specials were probably the thing that really made me want to do it.”

As for the second source of inspiration: It’s none other than Akira Kurosawa. The director has never been one to shy away from his admiration for Kurosawa, and he teased that “Isle Of Dogs” will be a full blown homage to the Japanese icon. “The new film is less influenced by stop-motion movies than it is by Akira Kurosawa,” Anderson confirmed.

It’s a tiny detail, for sure, but it’s one that suggests a movie that will probably be miles away from the rambunctious energy of “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Anderson’s last venture into stop-motion felt very much like his version of a family film, which makes sense given its Roald Dahl source material, but the same probably won’t be said for “Isle of Dogs” if Kurosawa is the major source of inspiration.

Fox Searchlight plans to release “Isle of Dogs” in 2018. The star-studded voice cast includes Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston and Yoko Ono. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to get our first look at the film and see Kurosawa’s influence for ourselves.

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