In the new Interview, Owen Wilson talks to his friend Woody Harrelson about playing poker and his great new film The Messenger. Read the full interview here, or after the break.
Woody Harrelson could so easily have remained the adorable goof behind America’s favorite bar forever. It’s hard to believe now, but for a while playing Woody Boyd on the sitcom Cheers seemed like the summit of Harrelson’s career. (Is there a quicker way for an actor to become typecast than to share a name with a character?) But the Texas-born yearling made quick work of landing choice film roles in Hollywood after the iconic Boston bar shut down operations in 1993. Harrelson went from starring in one of the most violent, experimental, and relentlessly criticized films of the 1990s (Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, 1994) to starring in one of the most violent, experimental, and universally praised films of the 2000s (the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, 2007), with an Oscar-nominated turn as Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt (in Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996) in between. The 48-year-old Harrelson has had an unpredictable, brilliantly bipolar career that no one—let alone the actor himself—could have anticipated. Continue reading
Wes is interviewed by the great French director and Criterion labelmate Arnaud Desplechin in this month’s Interview magazine. They touch on Paris, Proust, the Movies and working on Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s really terrific. Full interview after the break and at their website.
By Arnaud Desplechin
In the five films that Wes Anderson has directed, from his 1996 debut feature Bottle Rocket to 2007’s picaresque The Darjeeling Limited, he has managed to assemble a constellation of actors who might best be described as “Wes’s Gang.” This tragicomic fraternity includes Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Luke Wilson, and, of course, his college friend and longtime collaborator Owen Wilson. Like Woody Allen before him, Anderson has constructed his own immediately identifiable cinematic landscape, one so distinct that certain clothes, music, expressions, and cleverly awkward situations in the real world can be dubbed as being “very Wes Anderson.”
This year, however, the 40-year-old Anderson seems to have given the slip to his frequent playmates—at least in bodily form—by swapping human actors for puppets and the concrete world for an imaginary one in his latest effort, Fantastic Mr. Fox. The film, due out in November, is a stop-motion animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a family of foxes that is besieged by a group of angry farmers and forced to outmaneuver them in order to survive. Anderson tapped some of his usual collaborators—along with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Jarvis Cocker—to record the dialogue. He then used those vocal tracks to inspire a mesmeric fantasyland of puppet performances brought to life by a team of animators on an elaborate soundstage in London.
Fantastic Mr. Foxcertainly marks a departure for Anderson. French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin recently sat down with Anderson at the Cinéma du Panthéon in Paris—one of the city’s oldest movie theaters—to discuss the ever-evolving architecture of Anderson’s idiosyncratic universe.
In this month’s Interview, Owen Wilson talks to Stephen Dorff about Dorff’s career and his role in Sofia Coppola’s upcoming film Somewhere.
DORFF: Her scripts are famously short. She doesn’t write everything down and spell it out for the reader; I think she leaves a lot in private.
WILSON: It’s better. I always think it’s hard to read scripts because, first of all, a lot of the time they’re just boring. It’s hard to read a script from start to finish, like a book, and enjoy it just for itself. The script is supposed to be the blueprint for the movie. So you can read a script and be like, Okay, but then it can turn into a good movie. I feel like I’ve only read a couple scripts ever where I thought, Wow. I remember being in Dallas, and one of the guys who helped us with Bottle Rocket  knew Quentin Tarantino when Reservoir Dogs  was happening. He had a copy of True Romance , and I remember he gave that to me and Wes. That script seemed so great, just so exciting and different from everything. It’s nice to read something that has its own voice, and Sofia’s script obviously does.
Read the full interview in at their website, and here’s the other interview Wilson refers to with Bottle Rocket enthusiast Tony Shafrazi.
We posted excerpts from Wes’ interview/conversation with Mr. Fox collaborator Jarvis Cocker last week.
The interview has now been posted in its entirety here.
In this month’s issue of Interview (June 2009, Björk on the cover), Wes Anderson interviews (more of a discussion between close friends than an interview) Fantastic Mr. Fox collaborator Jarvis Cocker. Be sure to pick up a copy at your local newsstand!
Jarvis: I wanted to ask you something, actually. It’s an obvious question, I suppose, but on the film that you’re making now, Fantastic Mr. Fox, you’re using old puppets — well, do you call them puppets? What do you call them?
Wes: I think puppets more or less covers it.
Jarvis: So you’re used to working with live actors. How have you found the experience of working with things that will do exactly what you tell them to do?
Wes: Well, as it happens, they won’t. As you know, the voices are recorded before it’s animated, and that process is more familiar to me — working with actors in that way. So when we’re recording the voices, there can be the same sort of excitement that working with actors normally has — there can be the same surprises and spontaneity. But then when it comes time to animate it, I’m working with people who each bring their own interpretations to it, even if we have very carefully determined what is going to happen in the scene. Sometimes I will do a video version of myself doing what I think the puppet ought to do, and then I’ll discuss it with the animator — and there are many different animators working on different stages all at once. But in the process of going one frame at a time to bring the puppet to life, the animator will sort of sculpt things out, and they have somehow trained their brains to sync in this ultra slow-motion so there’s a performance that they’re giving. And so you can find in that process that you’re going very slowly being pleasantly surprised over the course of several days or weeks and saying, “Oh, look at what’s happening here…” Or you can slowly see the shot falling apart before your eyes and see that it’s not working. So there’s no real corollary in live-action movies, but it’s interesting anyway — and fun.
Jarvis: So the animators are kind of the nearest thing you get to actors in that process, basically.
Wes: They’re the nearest thing you get to working with actors in a sense, yeah.