Wes Anderson's first Roald Dahl adaptation was 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox, the auteur's magnificent first venture into stop-motion animation. (And a two-time Oscar nominee, to boot, for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score.) Now, more than a decade later, Anderson is returning to the world of Roald Dahl for The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.
The filmmaker's second offering this year (arriving three months after the release of Asteroid City), the 39-minute short film adapts the short story of the same name contained in the late author's 1977 collection, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Henry Sugar, a rich man who learns about a guru who can see without using his eyes and sets out to master the skill in order to cheat at gambling.
"I had the thought to try to adapt Henry Sugar maybe almost 20 years ago when I was staying at Gipsy House (which was Dahl's family house in Buckinghamshire), and I had a simultaneous thought which was: 'I don’t know how to do this,'" Anderson says. "But over the years, the Dahl family — Felicity Dahl and Dahl's grandson, Luke Kelly — kept the rights to the story set aside for me. When I finally had the moment of inspiration, the idea was: 'I am equally interested in the way Dahl tells the story as I am in the story itself.'"
The short sees the cast pulling double duty, with two-time Oscar nominee Cumberbatch starring as both Henry Sugar and Max Engelman, two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes as Roald Dahl and Policeman, Oscar winner Ben Kingsley as Imdad Khan and Croupier, Oscar nominee Dev Patel as Dr. Chatterjee and John Winston, and Richard Ayoade as Dr. Marshall and Yogi.
Following its debut at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar arrives on Netflix on Sept. 27. Watch the trailer below.