Wes Anderson

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Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson 2012.jpg
Anderson in 2012.
Born Wesley Wales Anderson
(1969-05-01) May 1, 1969 (age 45)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Education Westchester High School
St. John's School
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1992–present
Relatives Eric Chase Anderson (brother)

Wesley Wales "Wes" Anderson (born May 1, 1969) is an American film director and screenwriter. His films are known for their distinctive visual and narrative style.[1]

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001 and Moonrise Kingdom in 2012, and for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Wesley Wales Anderson was born on May 1, 1969, in Houston, Texas.[2][3][4] He attended St. Francis Episcopal Day School and graduated from St. John's School in Houston in 1987, which he later used as a prominent location throughout Rushmore.[5] Anderson graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990, where he met future frequent collaborator Owen Wilson.[6]

Film career[edit]

Anderson's first film, Bottle Rocket (1996), based on a short film that he made with Luke and Owen Wilson, was a crime caper focused on a group of young Texans aspiring to achieve major heists. Though well reviewed, it performed poorly at the box office.[7][8][9]

Anderson's next film, Rushmore (1998), a quirky comedy about a high school student's crush on an elementary school teacher, starring Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, was a critical success.[10] Murray has since appeared in every Anderson film to date. In 2000, filmmaker Martin Scorsese praised Bottle Rocket and Rushmore.[11]

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Anderson's next comedy-drama film about a successful artistic New York City family and its ostracized patriarch, represented Anderson's greatest success until Moonrise Kingdom in 2012. Earning more than $50 million in domestic box office receipts, the film was nominated for an Academy Award and ranked by an Empire poll as the 159th greatest film ever made.[12]

Anderson's next feature, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), about a Jacques Cousteau-esque documentary filmmaker played by Murray, serves as a classic example of Anderson's style but its critical reception was less favorable than his previous films and its box office did not match the heights of The Royal Tenenbaums.[13] In September 2006, following the disappointing commercial and critical reception of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen released a tongue-in-cheek "letter of intervention" for Anderson's artistic "malaise". Proclaiming themselves to be fans of "World Cinema" and Anderson in particular, they offered Anderson their soundtrack services for his Darjeeling Limited, including lyrics for a title track.[14]

The Darjeeling Limited (2007), about three emotionally distant brothers traveling together on a train in India, reflected the more dramatic tone of The Royal Tennenbaums but faced similar criticisms to The Life Aquatic. Anderson has acknowledged that he went to India to film the 2007 movie, partly as a tribute to the Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, whose "films have also inspired all my other movies in different ways" (the film is dedicated to him).[15] The films starred Anderson staples Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson in addition to Adrien Brody and the script was co-written by Anderson, Schwartzman and Roman Coppola.[16]

In 2008, Anderson was hired to write the screenplay of the American adaptation of My Best Friend, a French film, for producer Brian Grazer, Anderson's first draft was titled "The Rosenthaler Suite".

Anderson's stop-motion animation adaptation of the Roald Dahl book Fantastic Mr. Fox was released in 2009. Although the film did not earn much more than its production budget, the film was highly praised and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Following the critical success of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson made perhaps his best received film to date, Moonrise Kingdom, which opened the Cannes Film Festival 2012.[17] The film, emblematic of Anderson's style, was a financial success and earned Anderson another Academy Award nomination for his screenplay.

Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), starred Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, and Saoirse Ronan, among many others, along with several of his regular collaborators including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman.[18] Set in the 1930s, it followed the adventures of M. Gustave, the hotel's concierge, making "a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures," according to the New York Times.[19] The film represented one of Anderson's greatest critical and commercial successes.[original research?]

Anderson has also created several notable short films. In addition to the original Bottle Rocket short, Anderson made the Paris-set Hotel Chevalier (2007), which was created as a prologue to The Darjeeling Limited and starred Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman, and the Italy-set Castello Cavalcanti (2013),[20] which was produced by Prada and starred Jason Schwartzman as an unsuccessful race-car driver. Additionally, he has directed a number of television commercials for companies such as Stella Artois and Prada, including an elaborate American Express ad, in which he starred as himself.[21]

Anderson's cinematic influences include François Truffaut, Louis Malle, Satyajit Ray,[22] John Huston, Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby,[23] Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, and Roman Polanski.[24]

Directing techniques[edit]

Themes and stories[edit]

Anderson has chosen to direct mostly fast-paced comedies marked by more serious or melancholic elements, with themes often centered on grief, loss of innocence, parental abandonment, adultery, sibling rivalry, and unlikely friendships. His movies have been noted for being unusually character-driven, and by turns both derided and praised with terms like "literary geek chic." The plots of his movies often feature thefts and unexpected disappearances, with a tendency to borrow liberally from the caper genre.[25]

Visual style[edit]

Anderson has been noted for his extensive use of flat space camera moves, obsessively symmetrical compositions, snap-zooms, slow-motion walking shots, a deliberately limited color palette, and hand-made art direction often utilizing miniatures.[26] These stylistic choices give his movies a highly distinctive quality that has provoked much discussion, critical study, supercuts and mash-ups, and even parody. Many writers, critics, and even Anderson himself have commented that this gives his movies the feel of being "self-contained worlds" in Anderson's words, or a "scale model household" according Michael Chabon, with "a baroque Pop bent that is not realist, surrealist, or magic realist" but rather might be described as "fabul[ist]."[27]

From The Life Aquatic on, Anderson has relied more heavily on stop-motion animation and miniatures, even making an entire feature with stop-motion animation with The Fantastic Mr. Fox.[28]

Soundtracks[edit]

Anderson frequently uses pop music from the 1960s and 70s on the soundtracks of his movies, and one band or musician tends to dominate each soundtrack. In Rushmore, Cat Stevens and British Invasion groups featured prominently, The Royal Tenenbaums included multiple songs recorded by Nico and The Velvet Underground, The Life Aquatic was replete with David Bowie including both originals and covers performed by Seu Jorge, The Kinks appeared on the soundtrack for The Darjeeling Limited, The Beach Boys in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Hank Williams for Moonrise Kingdom.[29] The Grand Budapest Hotel is notable for being the first Anderson film to eschew using any pop music from the 1950s, 60s, or 70s, likely due to it being set in the early 1930s. The soundtracks for his movies have often brought renewed attention to the artists featured, most prominently in the case of "These Days", which was used in The Royal Tenenbaums.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson is dating Lebanese writer and voice actress Juman Malouf.[31] He lives in New York City but has spent extensive time in Paris.[32]

His brother is artist Eric Chase Anderson, who illustrated the Criterion Collection releases of Anderson's films and provided the voice of Kristofferson in Fantastic Mr. Fox.[33]

Anderson is the great-grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.[34]

Filmography[edit]

Features[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
1996 Bottle Rocket Yes Yes Co-written with Owen Wilson
1998 Rushmore Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Owen Wilson
2001 The Royal Tenenbaums Yes Yes Yes Yes Tennis Match Commentator Co-written with Owen Wilson
2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Noah Baumbach
2005 The Squid and the Whale Yes Co-produced with Peter Newman, Charlie Corwin & Clara Markowicz
2007 The Darjeeling Limited Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Jason Schwartzman & Roman Coppola
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox Yes Yes Yes Yes Weasel Co-written with Noah Baumbach
2012 Moonrise Kingdom Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Roman Coppola
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Hugo Guinness (story)
2015 She's Funny That Way Yes Co-produced with Noah Baumbach

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
1992 Bottle Rocket Yes Yes Short film, co-written with Owen Wilson
2007 Hotel Chevalier Yes Yes Short film, created as a prologue to The Darjeeling Limited
2013 Castello Cavalcanti Yes Yes Short film, created for Prada starring Jason Schwartzman

Commercials and promotional videos[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
2004 American Express: My Life, My Card Yes Yes Yes Himself Commercial starring Anderson as himself as he directs an elaborate fake film featuring Jason Schwartzman[35]
2008 Softbank Yes Japanese commercial filmed in France and starring Brad Pitt
2010 Stella Artois: Apartomatic Yes Commercial, co-directed with Roman Coppola
2012 Cousin Ben Troop Screening with Jason Schwartzman Yes Yes Promotional short for Moonrise Kingdom
2013 Prada: Candy Yes Commercial

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Anderson's films feature many of the same actors, crew members, and other collaborators, including the Wilson brothers (Owen, Luke, and Andrew), Bill Murray,[36] Willem Dafoe, Seymour Cassel, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Kumar Pallana and son Dipak Pallana, Stephen Dignan and Brian Tenenbaum, and Eric Chase Anderson (Anderson's brother). Other frequent collaborators include writer Noah Baumbach (who co-wrote The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Fantastic Mr. Fox, with Anderson co-producing his film The Squid and the Whale), Owen Wilson (who co-wrote three of Anderson's feature films), cinematographer Robert Yeoman (A.S.C.), music supervisor Randall Poster, and composers Mark Mothersbaugh and Alexandre Desplat.

Actor/actress Bottle Rocket (1996) Rushmore (1998) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2005) The Darjeeling Limited (2007) Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Moonrise Kingdom (2012) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Waris Ahluwalia NoN NoN NoN
Adrien Brody NoN NoN NoN
Seymour Cassel NoN NoN NoN
Willem Dafoe NoN NoN NoN
Michael Gambon NoN NoN
Jeff Goldblum NoN NoN
Anjelica Huston NoN NoN NoN
Bill Murray NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN
Edward Norton NoN NoN
Kumar Pallana NoN NoN NoN NoN
Jason Schwartzman NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN
Tilda Swinton NoN NoN
Luke Wilson NoN NoN NoN
Owen Wilson NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
1996 MTV Movie Award Best New Filmmaker Bottle Rocket Won
Lone Star Film & Television Award Debut of the Year Shared with Luke Wilson & Owen Wilson Bottle Rocket Won
1998 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award New Generation Award Bottle Rocket & Rushmore Won
1999 Lone Star Film & Television Award Best Director Rushmore Won
Best Writer Shared with Owen Wilson Rushmore Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson Rushmore Won
Independent Spirit Award Best Director Rushmore Won
2001 New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Screenplay The Royal Tenenbaums Won
2002 Academy Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Best Screenplay Shared with Owen Wilson The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
2003 Bodil Award Best American Film The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
DVD Premiere Award Best Audio Commentary The Royal Tenenbaums Nominated
2005 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Nominated
Golden Satellite Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Nominated
2006 Independent Spirit Award Best Feature The Squid and the Whale Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy The Squid and the Whale Nominated
2007 Gijón International Film Festival Award Best Feature The Darjeeling Limited Nominated
Venice International Film Festival Award Golden Lion The Darjeeling Limited Nominated
Little Golden Lion The Darjeeling Limited Won
2008 Bodil Award Best American Film The Darjeeling Limited Nominated
2009 National Society of Film Critics Award Special Achievement Award Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Director Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
2010 Academy Award Best Animated Feature Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
Annie Award Best Writing in a Feature Production Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
Directing in a Feature Production Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
BAFTA Film Award Best Animated Film Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award Special Achievement Award for Best Film Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Director Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Director Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
Producers Guild of America Award Best Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Shared with Allison Abbate and Scott Rudin Fantastic Mr. Fox Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award Best Original Screenplay Shared with Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Won
2012 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Original Screenplay Shared with Roman Coppola Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
2013 Academy Award Best Screenplay Shared with Roman Coppola Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Original Screenplay Shared with Roman Coppola Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best Director Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
Best Screenplay Shared with Roman Coppola Moonrise Kingdom Nominated
2014 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear The Grand Budapest Hotel Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear) The Grand Budapest Hotel Won
David di Donatello David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film The Grand Budapest Hotel Won

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ "The Unique Filmmaking Style of Wes Anderson". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Wes Anderson". Film Reference. 2010. 
  3. ^ "Wes Anderson". Yahoo Movies. 2010. 
  4. ^ "Wes Anderson returns to form with Mr Fox". Times London. 2009. 
  5. ^ "Tour Wes Anderson's High School AKA the Set of Rushmore". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Bottle Rocket". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 7, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Bottle Rocket". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Film By Film: Wes Anderson On Wes Anderson". Empire Magazine. March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Rushmore". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ Scorsese, Martin (March 2000). "Wes Anderson". Esquire. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ "EMPIRE's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time". EMPIRE. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Wes is having trouble with the reception". SCREEN Machine. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ Becker, Walter; Donald Fagen (August 2006). "Attention Wes Anderson". Steely Dan. Retrieved August 22, 2007. 
  15. ^ "On Ray's Trail". The Statesman. Archived from the original on January 3, 2008. Retrieved October 19, 2007. 
  16. ^ "Wilson & Anderson reminisce over a cup of Darjeeling". Production Weekly. August 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2007. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Wes Anderson". Los Angeles Times. March 8, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  18. ^ Eisenberg, Eric. "Wes Anderson Says The Grand Budapest Hotel Is Mostly Set in the Late 1920s". Cinema Blend. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  19. ^ Scott, A. O. (March 6, 2014). "Bittersweet Chocolate on the Pillow – Wes Anderson's 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Is a Complex Caper". New York Times. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Wes Anderson Honors Fellini in a Delightful New Short Film". Slate. November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Wes Anderson's 5 Best Commercials". Indiewire. May 1, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  22. ^ "a review of wes anderson's the darjeeling limited « second floor". Floortwo.wordpress.com. October 28, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  23. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (April 6, 2009). "The Substance of Style, Pt 3. Examining the Wes Anderson–Hal Ashby connection". Moving Image Source. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  24. ^ "'Moonrise Kingdom' Director Wes Anderson on 'Stealing' From Kubrick, Polanski". hollywoodreporter. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ Klein et al, Joshua. "Wes Anderson". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  26. ^ Buono, Alex. "How We Did It: The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders". www.alex-buono.com. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  27. ^ Chabon, Michael. "Wes Anderson’s Worlds". New York Review of Books. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  28. ^ Vera, Noel. "Courtesan au chocolat". Businessworld. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  29. ^ Moeckel, Casey. "The Music of Wes Anderson's Cinematic World". Songlyrics.com. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ Inman, Davis (January 2, 2012). "Jackson Browne, 'These Days'". American Songwriter. 
  31. ^ Brody, Richard. "How "Moonrise Kingdom" Fits into Wes Anderson's Canon". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  32. ^ Amsden, David. "The Life Obsessive With Wes Anderson". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ Standen, Dirk (October 19, 2010). "Paper Chase: The Art of Eric Chase Anderson". Style.com. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  34. ^ Wells, Jeffrey (November 7, 1993). "Lost in Filmland? These Guys Sure Found The Way". The Los Angeles Times. 
  35. ^ According to Matt Zoller Seitz, the author of The Wes Anderson Collection http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/wes-anderson-collection-24-tidbits-matt-zoller-seitz.html
  36. ^ "5 Signs You're Watching a Wes Anderson Movie". OMGList. March 25, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2009. [dead link]
Bibliography
  • Browning, Mark (2011). Wes Anderson: why his movies matter. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger. ISBN 1-5988-4352-4. 
  • "Special Issue: Wes Anderson & Co.". New Review of Film and Television Studies 10 (1). 2012. ISSN 1740-0309. 
  • Seitz, Matt Zoller (2013). The Wes Anderson Collection. New York, New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810997417. 

External links[edit]