An excerpt from an interview with Jason Schwartzman, who describes his favourite scene from Fantastic Mr. Fox. Its mine as well. It comes out of nowhere and plays like an old Disney scene, full of wonder and an elemental sense of fear. Also, as Schwartzman tells us, it has an uncredited contribution by Bill Murray.
Q: What is your favorite part of the movie?
JS: I love this one part of the movie, but it’s in the end. What should I do in this situation? Can I tell it anyway?
Q: I think it’s okay.
JS: Well, okay. I’m just gonna say it. There’s a scene at the end of the movie when George Clooney’s character, myself, my cousin and the opossum, Kylie, are all on a little motorcycle driving back to our home. And we’ve just rescued my cousin. And we stop and we see a wolf on a distant hill, and it’s a really beautiful, beautiful scene. It’s like so heart-warming because it’s just a beautiful moment between these foxes and little animals and this really like mysterious wolf who we’ve heard about the entire movie and who doesn’t talk in this scene and he’s not wearing clothes. He’s kind of, he represents I guess, the wild. He’s a wild wolf and animal, and it’s a beautiful moment where they have this great connection, and in that moment, it really like to me the point of that scene is let’s keep on being free. Let’s keep on being animals. And it’s such an uplifting moment, and like when I’ve seen it with audiences, a bunch of people break into huge cheers and hooting. It’s such an awesome, awesome scene. It really just blows my mind.
And actually, when we did the movie, you know, we did the movie basically live together as a cast. We didn’t do the scenes, none of us really did it separately in recording booths, which is how typical animated movies are done. This one, Wes Andersen had us literally go and move onto a farm together and we all lived together. And we’d wake up in the morning, have breakfast and then if there was a scene, for instance, that took place underneath a tree, George Clooney and Bill Murray, everyone, would walk over to the tree that we’d find, we’d take our scripts out and we’d just start acting out the scenes. And it was basically like doing a movie just with no cameras. So there were actors, the director, Wes, and a sound man. And we were running around, growling and hooting and hollering, and if we had to eat a bunch of food like in the movie we always are eating like French toast or biscuits, we would literally be eating French toast and biscuits and toast, I mean it was so much fun.
Anyways, one day when we were doing this particular scene with this wolf, we were all about to shoot it and then Wes said, you know we should really get someone to play the wolf so that the guys have someone to act opposite, and we looked around and Bill Murray was standing there with his hands in his pockets. He took his hands out and said, “I can be the wolf.” And Bill Murray just took off running, or I guess trotting. And he ran, ran, ran, ran really far away until he was tiny. And he turned around and actually became the wolf, like he, it’s almost as if he embodied the wolf. And he acted it out for us, and it was so inspiring and so beautiful. And Wes actually took out his camera phone, filmed it, and then sent that footage to the animators to base the wolf off of Bill Murray, so Bill Murray is the uncredited wolf in this movie. And he actually, it was so good, it was as if he practiced it. I mean, it was incredible, his wolf performance. So, I think because of what the scene means, what it represents in the movie and the great warm message that it has in the scene, plus knowing the behind the scenes, what went into that scene, I think that’s my favorite scene in the movie.
Full interview here