Animated Clooney kicks off London film festival

Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:11am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Wes Anderson's animation movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox," starring George Clooney as the voice of the eponymous hero, has its world premiere on Wednesday on the opening night of the London film festival.

The annual event, which runs for 16 days and is attempting to compete with major international festivals like Toronto, Venice and Cannes, will screen around 200 feature films, although the majority have already been shown elsewhere.

Fantastic Mr. Fox guarantees a star-studded red carpet gala screening, with Clooney expected to be joined in central London by Meryl Streep and Bill Murray among others.

The movie is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's popular tale of the same name, and tells the story of how Mr. Fox's animal instincts get the better of him and threaten to disrupt his idyllic family life.

Trapped underground with not enough food to go around, the Fox family and animal friends band together to fight against evil farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, who are determined to capture the audacious fox at any cost.

"This was actually the first book I personally owned," Anderson told reporters. "It was a book I loved as a child and also it introduced me to Roald Dahl's works in general, so it made a big impression on me."

He first approached Dahl's widow about 10 years ago to get the rights to make a movie, and was determined to stay true to the dark side of the original.

"I remember being scared by Roald Dahl and I loved that," said the director best known for comedies like "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums." Fantastic Mr. Fox sees him team up with regular collaborators Murray and Jason Schwartzman.   Continued...

<p>George Clooney (L) jokes with musician Jarvis Cocker as they arrive to speak about their new film "Fantastic Mr. Fox" in London, October 14, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>