The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar director Wes Anderson has criticised the decision to alter Roald Dahl’s books to make them more palatable to a modern audience.
In February, bosses at Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Books, announced Dahl’s books had been edited with the consent of his estate in an effort to reflect more inclusive language.
Anderson, who adapted the author’s Fantastic Mr. Fox for the big screen and is repeating the trick with Henry Sugar, is not a fan of the changes as he believes art should be left in its original form.
“I’m probably the worst person to ask about this because if you ask me if Renoir should be allowed to touch up one of his pictures, I would say no. It’s done,” the filmmaker told Deadline.com at a Venice Film Festival news conference.
“I don’t even want the artist to modify their work. I understand the motivation for it, but I’m in the school where when the piece of work is done we participate in it. We know it. So I think when it’s done, it’s done.”
Explicitly criticising the Dahl decision, he added: “And certainly no one who is not an author should be modifying somebody’s book. He’s dead.”
Titles including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have been affected by the controversial changes, which do not just affect offensive words, but also references to sex and gender, appearance, and even characters’ backgrounds and hygiene.
Stars including Ricky Gervais, Brian Cox, and Whoopi Goldberg mocked the changes, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and even Queen Camilla also criticising the move.
Anderson’s Henry Sugar adaptation stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character alongside Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, Rupert Friend, and Richard Ayoade.
– Cover Media