'Isle of Dogs' interview: Murray, Goldblum, and Cranston on how the film tackles 'immigration and nationalism' (exclusive)

Stefan Pape

While on the surface Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson’s latest stop motion production, is a playful, quirky endeavour all about the role of the dog, it also explores pertinent, relevant themes that we can attribute to contemporary society – with a political undercurrent that scrutinises our lack of compassion in the modern world.

Yahoo Movies spoke exclusively to several of the leading cast-members, including Bill Murray (Boss), Jeff Goldblum (Duke), Bob Balaban (King) and Bryan Cranston (Chief) on the messages this animated feature are delivering to the viewer.

“This film can expose hypocrisy, it can expose the viewer to a variety of different elements and themes,” Cranston said.

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows characters, from left, Chief, voiced by Bryan Cranston, King, voiced by Bob Balaban, Atari Kobayashi, voiced Koyu Rankin, Boss, voiced by Bill Murray, Rex, voiced by Edward Norton, And Duke, voiced by Jeff Goldblum, in a scene from “Isle of Dogs.” (Fox Searchlight via AP)Koyu Rankin

“The segregative nature of immigration and nationalism, I think fear-mongering is a big part of this and as we see, if you scare people enough, and point the finger at where you think the problem is, fear will allow us to isolate, not only ourselves but others and we can’ve live that way, we’re not meant to live that way.”

“As dogs of different breeds are intermingling and understanding one another, and accepting the differences within themselves, so must we as human beings. To not be a big melting pot and say, well, in order for us to all get along we all have to be alike, but to appreciate the differences in other cultures and other languages and that’s what Isle of Dogs exposes us to, this world that we’re not familiar with, it’s beautifully artistic and socially relevant.”

Positive, progressive themes that Goldblum hopes will rub off on the viewer. “Hopefully, like the movie, there’s an urgent movement for our worldwide brotherhood, amongst all living creatures,” he said.

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows the character Boss, voiced by Bill Murray, in a scene from “Isle of Dogs.” (Fox Searchlight via AP)

Meanwhile, Murray also went on to discuss how the vast majority of his work on this picture was all done in one take. Needless to say it was rather important it the roles were left in such reliable hands – and with cast-members well accustomed to the work of this unique filmmaker.

“You did it once and he ran with it, if Wes liked it enough,” Murray said. “He liked what we did, he put his faith in us. He hired a good group, we got it done and that was it, we never saw him again.”

Isle of Dogs is released on 30 March. Watch a trailer below.

This interview was conducted at the Berlin Film Festival.

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