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Noah Baumbach sure knows how to sell an existential crisis. For nearly two decades, the writer/director has delved into the psyches of self destructive do-nothings whose aimless stories manage to tackle big ideas in decidedly entertaining ways. He explored the terrors of post-college life in Kicking and Screaming, the agonizing puzzles inherent in divorce in The Squid and the Whale, the magic and heartbreak of a barely self-sustaining life in your 20s in his Greta Gerwig collaboration Frances Ha… to top the lot, Greenberg was pretty much just about what it’s like to be a douchebag. You can call Baumbach an auteur — he loves the depths of a broken mind and to play with them in funny and melancholy ways. But his next project, so it seems, might at first glance suggest a departure from this mentality. Baumbach is in the process of directing his first animated feature, as reported by Bleeding Cool: an adaptation of Berkley Breathed’s Flawed Dogs illustrated books.
The most interesting aspect of the news is that Baumbach has actually been working on this project for some time already, having managed to keep the whole thing a secret up until now. While this will be Baumbach’s first time directing an animated picture, he co-wrote Wes Anderson’s stop motion flick Fantastic Mr. Fox, so he has experience instilling a clever voice into cartoon animals.
The story highlights the exploits of a show dachsund who gets separated from his beloved owner and assembles a pack of diversely disabled and malformed pups on his quest to reunite with his friend. Doesn’t necessarily seem like the sort of material that Baumbach could sink his nihilistic teeth into, at first glance, but we trust that Baumbach can imagine a cartoon dog with as many emotional neuroses as a letter-writing Ben Stiller or an aspiring dancer Gerwig.