Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley are all joining Benedict Cumberbatch in Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar for Netflix, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This is the first project to be given the go-ahead since Netflix acquired the rights to Roald Dahl’s catalogue. It is perhaps surprising that they are starting with one of Dahl’s lesser-known works, but it’s good that it’s not one that we already have an adaptation of.
The Wonderful Story of Henry and Six More was first published in 1982, and featured both fiction and non-fiction. The title story centres on Henry Sugar, a man who steals a book that shows him how to see through objects and predict the future. This sets about 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.
While it is unclear what roles Patel, Fiennes and Kingsley are playing, it is known that Cumberbatch will not only play Sugar but will also act as a thread through the other stories by playing multiple roles throughout.
There have been several successful adaptations of Roald Dahl books, including Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder (1971) and Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Henry Selick made a stop-motion version of James and the Giant Peach in 1996 and Wes Anderson himself made a stop-motion version of Fantastic Mr Fox in 2009.
Danny the Champion of the World was made into a film starring Jeremy Irons and his son Samuel in 1989. The Witches has been adapted twice – in 1990 and 2020. Steven Spielberg made a movie of The BFG in 2016.
There was a beloved movie version of Matilda, starring Mara Wilson and Danny DeVito in 1996 and Tim Minchin adapted it into the wildly successful musical version in 2010. The film adaptation of the musical already started filming for Netflix, but production was halted due to the pandemic. Emma Thompson is playing Miss Trunchbull.
Benedict Cumberbatch has been extremely busy in the last few months with the release of The Power of the Dog, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is due to be released later this year.
Dev Patel starred in The Green Knight in 2021 and Ralph Fiennes is currently in cinemas in The King’s Man. Ben Kingsley was last seen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
While we wait for more news from Netflix about their plans with Roald Dahl’s weird and wonderful stories, check out our guide to the best family movies.