The 'Isle Of Dogs' Voice Cast Is Filled With A-List Actors Playing Animated Pups
Wes Anderson has built a career crafting meticulously symmetrical surroundings filled with stone-faced characters. So his move from real-world to stop-motion animation is less a leap than a small sidestep, continuing in the same direction he began moving towards with Rushmore. The director's latest film, Isle Of Dogs, features a number of Anderson regulars, actors he's worked with time and again, voicing a pack of dogs. And in a fun change of pace from most animated movies, the Isle Of Dogs voice cast are mostly playing their human selves. Still, it can be difficult to figure out who's who with furry figures replacing iconic faces, so let's take a look at the Hollywood A-listers, newcomers, and beloved cult actors behind Isle Of Dogs.
Anderson has a habit of working with the same actors, though it seems to be a case of mutual admiration; the stars are often willing to drop everything to have the chance to make his films happen. In an interview with Esquire, Bill Murray explained it as, "We are promised very long hours and low wages. And stale bread. That's pretty much it...But you get to see the world, and see Wes live this wonderful, magical life, where his dreamscape comes true. So, if we show up, he gets to have all his fun, and I guess it's because we like him that we go along with this."
With that kind of atmosphere, it's no surprise that so many great actors joined the voice cast for Isle of Dogs.
Chief: Bryan Cranston
Isle Of Dogs is a return to form for Cranston, who, before the wild popularity of Breaking Bad cemented him as Walter White, played lighter, quirkier roles like the dad in Malcom In The Middle. Unlike a lot of the other dogs stuck on the island bearing tags, Cranston's Chief is a stray rounded up from the streets and dumped on an isolated dog island as part of the panic over "dog flu".
Rex: Edward Norton
Norton's worked with Anderson before on Moonrise Kingdom, playing a well-meaning but out-of-his-depth Khaki Scout Leader. Here, his Scottie character Rex has the same earnest work ethic and determination in the face of a situation outside his comfort zone.
Spots: Liev Schrieber
Schreiber doesn't usually play characters like Spots who are kind, hard-working individuals, so it's definitely a change of pace for the actor. He's used to voiceover work, though, having narrated a number of documentary series in the past.
Atari: Koyu Rankin
Canadian native Rankin makes his film debut as Atari, a boy determined to get back his beloved dog Spots no matter what it takes.
Tracy Walker: Greta Gerwig
A curious and determined exchange-student investigator and agitator Tracy Walker has a lot in common with her voice actor, the multi-talented Gerwig, fresh off her Best Director nomination for Ladybird.
Boss: Bill Murray
Murray and Anderson go all the way back to the director's breakout second film Rushmore, which starred Murray as a man vying for the attention of a teacher against one of her students. Here he plays Boss, a chipper, determined mascot taken away from his team.
Duke: Jeff Goldblum
It's hard to miss Goldblum's unique, syllable-stretching cadence no matter what guise it's in. The gossipy, wide-eyed interest of Duke suits it perfectly.
King: Bob Balaban
Anderson has a soft spot for casting amazing character actors that might be unfamiliar to younger generations. Balaban's brings his trademark offbeat comic timing to play King.
Nutmeg: Scarlett Johansson
A dog with a clear pedigree and strong will, Nutmeg takes a shine to outsider Chief. Johansson's rasp works perfectly for Nutmeg's noir-lite dialogue.
The Oracle: Tilda Swinton
The Oracle is an all-knowing pug, whose clairvoyance comes from watching TV broadcasts. Sounds about right for Swinton.
Even disguised behind fur and collars, the unmistakable charisma of this all-star cast shine through. Isle Of Dogs may look like a kids' movie, but sounds like an indie drama — elements that come together to create something more singular than the sum of its parts.