Netflix has teamed up with renowned filmmaker Wes Anderson to produce The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar movie based on several short stories by Roald Dahl, including The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. The short film is set to have a star-studded cast with Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, and Dev Patel headlining the cast.
The movie is written and will be directed by seven-time Oscar nominee Wes Anderson, who recently released The French Dispatch.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar will be Anderson’s second adaptation of Dahl’s work following the 2009 movie Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’ll also notably be the director’s first-ever movie for a streaming service.
Anderson is producing the movie under his American Empirical Pictures banner. Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson are producers, with Octavia Peissel, John Peet, and Alice Dawson co-producing.
Frequent collaborator with Anderson, Robert D. Yeoman, will serve as the cinematographer on the project, while Kasia Walicka-Maimone is listed as the costume designer.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is the first major exclusive Dahl feature film at Netflix following the streamer’s acquisition of the Ronald Dahl Story Company in the fall of 2021, gaining the rights to adapt the author’s entire catalog. It’s worth noting, however, that the movie was first picked up before Netflix had acquired the library.
As you may know, Netflix is planning numerous TV and movie adaptations in the world of Roald Dahl, including adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits.
Wes Anderson’s project first came to light via Baz Bamigboye, who worked for the DailyMail at the time:
#WesAnderson directs another @roald_dahl tale of the unexpected following his 2009 animated adaptation of Dahl’s Fantastic https://t.co/0VcurohRbS. Dir will film The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar for @NetflixFilm with #BenedictCumberbatch as Sugar.Shoots in London v soon. pic.twitter.com/WRFm7ejLpz
— Baz Bamigboye @Deadline (@BazBam) January 6, 2022
When will The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar release?
Netflix hasn’t set an exact release date for The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, but we do know it’ll be released in 2023. Its 2023 release window came alongside Netflix’s movie slate reveal in January 2023.
Ahead of its Netflix release date, the movie will be premiering at the Venice Film Festival (taking place between August 30th and September 9th) as an Out of Competition entry.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar will only be a short film at 39 minutes
Anderson, speaking to IndieWire, was asked about the upcoming Netflix film and explained that it’s “not a feature film,” adding “It’s like 37 minutes or something.”
This has since been confirmed that the short will be 39 minutes in total.
Continuing on why he chose to do the short film at Netflix and comparing the title to his 2007 Apple short film Hotel Chevalier, Anderson continued, “Because it’s a 37-minute movie, it [Netflix] was the perfect place to do it because it’s not really a movie. You know they used to do these BBC things called “Play for Today” directed by people like Steven Frears and John Schlesinger and Alan Clarke. They were one hour programs or even less. I kind of envisioned something like that.”
What’s the plot of Netflix’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar?
As mentioned above, the movie will be based on Ronald Dahl’s short story collection, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, first published in 1982. As the title suggests, there are seven short stories in it.
Per Netflix’s official description of the movie, Anderson’s adaptation will be delving into many of these stories:
“Wes Anderson’s adaptation of several Roald Dahl short stories including The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.”
The title story centers on Henry Sugar, a man who steals a book that shows him how to see through objects and predict the future. This touches on a series of misadventures that involve evading Mafia henchmen, working with a Hollywood makeup artist to craft new identities, and setting up orphanages around the world.
Another one is The Boy Who Talked With Animals – in which a stranded sea turtle and a small boy have more in common than meets the eye. The Hitchhiker proves that a professional pickpocket can be the perfect pal in a pinch. The Mildenhall Treasure – a true tale of fortune found and an opportunity lost. The Swan is a short story about the boys Ernie and his friend Raymond, who like to bully Peter Watson.
Two more stories, Lucky Break and A Piece of Cake, are nonfictional and tell about two different parts of author Ronald Dahl’s life.
Who is cast in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar?
Among the first batch of cast announcements for the movie included Benedict Cumberbatch, who will lead The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar for Netflix. He will be playing the titular Henry Sugar as well as some other characters, thus acting as a link between his and other short stories throughout the movie. Cumberbatch’s recent work includes Netflix’s Power of the Dog and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Cumberbatch will be joined in this project by Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes, and Sir Ben Kingsley. Patel can be seen in the acclaimed 2021 film The Green Knight and Netflix’s upcoming Monkey Man, while Fiennes’s recent works include Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond No Time to Die and the Kingsman prequel called The King’s Man. Oscar-winner Kingsley can be seen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Rupert Friend, Richard Ayoade, and Asa Jennings are also announced to be cast members.
When did The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar film?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, production for the movie began in January 2022 in the UK and ran through to late March 2022.
Are you looking forward to The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar on Netflix? Let us know in the comments down below.