One of the loveliest details of Wes Anderson’s indie box office smash Moonrise Kingdom is the fictitious storybooks read aloud by 12-year-old Suzy (Kara Hayward) during her runaway adventure with her pen-pal boyfriend, Sam (Jared Gilman). Anderson commissioned six artists to create the books’ captivating jacket covers, but initially the director wanted to take the artistry even further.
”When she’s reading the passages from these books, I’d thought about going into animation,” explains Anderson, whose last project was the stop-motion animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox. He ultimately chose to shoot his live actors listening to the stories instead, but the idea of animating these tales of doleful king lions and magic gymnasts stuck in his head. In April, Anderson decided to create some animated shorts as a supplement to the film. Says producer Jeremy Dawson, ”It’s a fun way to keep the world alive.”
Anderson’s team completed the shorts, presented by Moonrise narrator Bob Balaban, in just six weeks, teaming the jacket artists with professional animators (you can watch all six shorts at ew.com/moonrise). So would Anderson ever consider finishing the books themselves? ”I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not gonna write them.”