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The real star of Wes Anderson’s films? The model maker who meticulously crafts the signs and buildings
Oct 21, 2021 | Fast Company
Picture - The real star of Wes Anderson’s films? The model maker who meticulously crafts the signs and buildings

In one of the opening scenes of Wes Anderson’s latest movie, capital letters poke off the top of a mid-rise building advertising a magazine and its office below. The French Dispatch, about the foreign bureau of a New Yorker-ish American publication, is set in a made-up French town, and much of its action takes place within the rooms of this sign-topped building.

But the office of The French Dispatch is actually an architectural illusion. Though a very real motor scooter drives by on the street below and a grizzled editor can be seen looking out one of its third-floor windows, the sign above, wired for lighting and sturdily mounted on a metal frame, is little more than a few yards wide.

The sign is a scaled model that’s been built by a team of miniature model makers and overlaid on film footage of the actual building in a village somewhere in France. The tops of neighboring buildings in the background are models, too, crafted by a team of talented artisans who’ve managed to persevere amid the increasing digitization of special effects and the rise of computer-generated imagery (CGI).

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