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The French Dispatch - What We Know So Far

Wes Anderson is one of the most prolific auteurs alive — a filmmaker known for his use of color, visual symmetry, quirky characters, and whimsical plotlines. He's one of the most acclaimed directors of his generation, and his previous films include indie darlings like "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Moonrise Kingdom," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Like many great directors, his films often feature a number of the same actors, with recognizable stars like Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, and Owen Wilson being just a few of his favorite recurring players.

Anderson's newest film, "The French Dispatch," was first set to hit theaters last year, but was delayed indefinitely, much to the disappointment of Anderson's numerous fans. Fortunately, the film recently premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival to mostly positive reviews, and the good news doesn't stop there because "The French Dispatch" is officially set to hit to theaters later this year. Here's everything we know so far about the release date, cast, and plot of "The French Dispatch."

When is The French Dispatch's release date?

At long last, "The French Dispatch" is headed to theaters. It was originally set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in summer 2020, but since the festival was canceled due to COVID-19, the film's premiere was rescheduled to October 16 — which was eventually rescheduled as well (via Deadline).

"The French Dispatch" finally premiered at Cannes earlier this year, and according to Variety, is also set to be screened at the 59th New York Film Festival, which will run from September 24 through October 10. Following its time there, "The French Dispatch" will officially hit theaters on October 22.

Based on the first reviews for "The French Dispatch," it looks like the film is going to be worth the wait too. Douglas Greenwood of i-D had only positive things to say about it, calling it a "frenetic and fabulous, high-spirited film" and "a love letter to journalism's potential to be real art in the right hands." Greenwood went on to say that viewers will be "desperate to see it again" once its credits roll — just in case Anderson's fans needed any more reason to be excited for "The French Dispatch."

Who is in cast of The French Dispatch?

With Anderson's long list of frequent collaborators, it shouldn't be a surprise that "The French Dispatch" is chock full of amazing talent.

Among the many names in "The French Dispatch" is Bill Murray, who plays Arthur Howitzer Jr., the founding editor of the film's titular newspaper. In addition to Murray, the "French Dispatch" cast also includes Owen Wilson as a travel columnist named Herbsaint Sazerac, Tilda Swinton as an art correspondent named J.K.L. Berensen, Benicio del Toro as an incarcerated murderer named Moses Rosenthaler, Léa Seydoux as a prison guard named Simone, Adrien Brody as an art dealer named Julien Cadazio, and Frances McDormand as Lucinda Krementz, an essayist. Elsewhere in the film's cast, Timothée Chalamet appears as Zeffirelli, a chess player and revolutionary; Lyna Khoudri joins him as Juliette, another revolutionary; Jeffrey Wright stars as Roebuck Wright, a food writer; and Willem Dafoe plays The Abacus, an accountant.

The talent in "The French Dispatch" doesn't end there — you can also expect to see Saoirse Ronan, Bob Balaban, Henry Winkler, Lois Smith, Stephen Park, Mathieu Amalric, Winston Ait Hellal, Elisabeth Moss, and Jason Schwartzman in different roles. Altogether, the film's various stars make up what should prove to be a truly memorable screen ensemble.

What is the plot of The French Dispatch?

Like most of Anderson's films, "The French Dispatch" has a unique setup. The title of the movie references a fictional newspaper, and the film is divided into stories from said paper's last issue (via THR), including "an obituary, a travel column, and three feature articles." The huge cast of "The French Dispatch" is broken into different groups for each narrative.

According to The New Yorker, Anderson drew inspiration from a few notable places for his upcoming film — and even adapted real stories for it. Adrien Brody's Julien Cadazio was inspired by a real art dealer named Lord Duveen, while Lyna Khoudri's Juliette and Timothée Chalamet's Zeffirelli were apparently inspired by a two-part article on the May 68 student occupation protests. Several of the film's characters were also said to be inspired by members of the real-life staff of The New Yorker.

Discussing the plot of "The French Dispatch" with the French publication Charente Libre (via IndieWire), Anderson said, "The story is not easy to explain. [It's about an] American journalist based in France [who] creates his magazine. It is more a portrait of this man, of this journalist who fights to write what he wants to write. It's not a movie about freedom of the press, but when you talk about reporters you also talk about what's going on in the real world."