My Private Screening With Pauline Kael {archive}

New York Times
January 31, 1999

Wes Anderson, the director and co-writer of the new offbeat comedy ”Rushmore,” is a lifelong fan of the New Yorker magazine film critic Pauline Kael, who is now retired. Wanting to show her his film, he tracked her down last fall at her home in the Berkshire Mountains. The following account of his visit is from the introduction to his ”Rushmore” screenplay, to be published on Friday by Faber & Faber.

I already had Pauline Kael’s phone number because I’d found it when I was looking through somebody’s Rolodex a couple of years ago. ”Hello. My name is Wes Anderson. I’m calling for Pauline Kael, please.” I had immediately recognized her voice (from a tape I have of her on ”The Dick Cavett Show”) when she answered the telephone, but I wanted to give her a chance to introduce herself.

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“Teacher’s Pet” {archive}

“Rushmore” director Wes Anderson talks about his first “collaborative” writing effort, his recent pilgrimage to the home of Pauline Kael and New York telephone booths.


Director Wes Anderson’s rise from cable-access obscurity to Hollywood buzz boy is the stuff of indie auteur reverie. After graduating from the University of Texas, Anderson and his roommate, Owen Wilson, wrote and shot a 15-minute short on a shoestring budget. Through a combination of luck, talent and some well-connected family friends, the film found its way to Hollywood, where it gained the support of producer-director James L. Brooks. Brooks helped the duo hone their screenplay and secure a $5 million budget. The resulting feature, 1996’s “Bottle Rocket,” which starred Wilson and his brother Luke, is the story of a couple of suburban slackers whose aimlessness leads them to commit a series of half-baked heists. Though it opened to critical raves, it was more cult hit than blockbuster, but Hollywood took notice: Anderson commanded an eight-figure budget from Disney for his second feature, “Rushmore.”

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If I Can Dream {archive}

The Everlasting Boyhoods of Wes Anderson
From the Archive
Film Comment, January/February 1999
by Mark Olsen

Unlike many writer-directors of his generation, Wes Anderson does not view his characters from some distant Olympus of irony. He stands beside them — or rather, just behind them — cheering them on as they chase their miniaturist renditions of the American Dream. The characters who inhabit Anderson’s cinematic universe, a Middle West of the Imagination, embody both sides of William Carlos Williams’ famous edict that the pure products of America go crazy, being, for the most part, both purely American and slightly crazy. Though some might label his people losers, or even invoke that generational curse, slackers, they are in fact ambitious and motivated overreachers, misguided though their energies occasionally are.

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