Take this with a grain of salt as it comes from the print version of last month’s Empire magazine, which I’m still waiting to get a scan of, but the magazine has an interview with Tristan Oliver, the cinematographer on the (awesome-looking) Fantastic Mr. Fox. Oliver seems to imply that Wes Anderson directed the film via email. Which sounds a lot like, you know, not directing. From this guy:
According to an inadvertently extraordinary interview with the animators in this month’s Empire, [Wes Anderson] is keeping his distance from the set and directing via e-mail*, sending in his favourite DVDs to give an impression of what he’d like to see. Cinematographer Tristan Oliver, asked about his working relationship with Anderson, replies: [Quoting Empire] “I think Wes doesn’t understand what you can do, and he often wants us to do what you can’t do, and the length of time the process takes … I don’t think he quite comprehends that, and how difficult it is to change something once you’ve started. It takes a big amount of someone’s time to change a very small thing. I think he also doesn’t understand that an animator is a performer. An animator is an actor. And this is the secret to animation: you direct your animator, you do not direct the puppet, because the puppet is an inanimate object. You direct an animator as if you’re directing an actor, and they will give you a performance. So we’ll get a note back from Wes saying ‘that arm movement is wrong.’ But that arm movement is part of a fluid performance. And that has been really quite difficult for the animators.”
I can understand him being pissed if Wes Anderson is getting credit for a movie when he was never even on the set, but… uh, dude? An animator is not an actor. The actor is the guy who records dialog in the studio for a day. The animator is the guy who puts in 70-hour weeks and earns a tenth as much. Sh’tty but true. But as my uncle always taught me, “Don’t hate the playa, burn his house down.” And who says you can’t direct via computer? Try telling that to my webcam girls. Mmm, yeah, that’s good, now put the camera on the turtle.
*To further corroborate, this site wrote something similar: “We have to admit our opinion’s been coloured by the recent article in Empire magazine which suggested that Anderson was directing the movie via email and leaving most of the work to cinematographer and Aardman stalwart Tristan Oliver.” [thanks to Giantcowofdoom for the tip]