'Fantastic Mr. Fox' (Fox Searchlight)I know that directors sometimes must direct scenes from a room separate and sometimes distant from the actors, but directing from another country? By e-mail? That's the story filtering out of England, where Fantastic Mr. Fox, the new adult-skewing animated movie from Wes Anderson featuring voice work by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Bill Murray, is set to have its world premiere at the London Film Festival on Wednesday.

According to Chris Lee, reporting in Los Angeles Times, Anderson had no desire to spend a year at Three Mills Studio in London during the physical production of the stop-motion animated project. Instead, the director 'holed up' in Paris for most of the time. His move and his exacting requirements did not endear him to all of his crew. "He has made our lives miserable," Mark Gustafson, the film's director of animation, said. Anderson asserts that he was trying to make something different. "The movie would not be the way I wanted it if I just did it the way people were accustomed to doing it. I realized this is an opportunity to do something nobody's ever seen before." And not everyone was upset about Anderson's absence. Producer Allison Abbate said absent directors aren't unusual in the field: "Making stop-motion is like watching paint dry."

After sending digital files of what they were working on, the animators received "detailed e-mail instructions about what to change" from Anderson, who also acted out certain scenes for them as reference material. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and we'll get to see for ourselves soon enough. After London, the film will have its North American premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles on October 30, before Fox Searchlight opens it on November 13.