Spielberg Approves, McDonald’s Sells ‘Fox?’, and A ‘Clever’ Rebuttal

Steven Speilberg and Wes Anderson

Came across this interview with Steven Spielberg at the website for Boston University (where Spielberg just received an honorary degree), where Spielberg mentions Wes and offers advice to young filmmakers. More from Spielberg and two more stories, after the jump.

Whose work excites you these days?
There are so many interesting filmmakers coming on the scene right now. I’m very excited by Wes Anderson. Did you see (Paul Thomas Anderson’s) There Will Be Blood? The Coen brothers — the same way that I wait for a Woody Allen film, I wait for a Coen brothers movie. I like filmmakers that have a very marked signature in their style and approach to storytelling and to visually mounting a movie.

What’s your advice for an aspiring artist or filmmaker?
I usually just say — it’s a cliché but it’s true — do what you know. It’s much easier to be articulate about something you’re intimately familiar with than something that you’re just learning about. I really like when filmmakers first trade on their strengths. Once they gain experience writing and directing things that are familiar to them, then it’s OK to branch out and step into the great unknown. I say to a lot of young filmmakers, take a lot of chances, take a lot of emotional risks, take a lot of risks with subject matter, but just make sure there is a center of gravity that feels familiar to you and makes you feel like you’re just working out of your own backyard. Later you can get into subjects that are unfamiliar.


Twentieth Century Fox has announced a partnership with McDonald’s to promote five of the their upcoming films with tie-in products at their restaurants, and The Los Angeles Times speculates that Fantastic Mr. Fox could be one of them.

Although details are still being finalized on three additional Fox movies, the pact with the chain is expected to include director Wes Anderson’s animated comedy “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which will be released in November, and James Cameron’s sci-fi action thriller “Avatar” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” both coming out in December.

If that’s true it would mean that the move to Fox Searchlight won’t mean scaling back the promotion, and though I’m not a regular customer, I’d definitely make the trip to McDonald’s for a Fantastic Mr. Fox Happy Meal.


Brick and The Brothers Bloom director Rian Johnson is facing a lot of the same criticism Wes has for his film’s style and seems to be spending much of his time now defending himself against it. In both this interview with New York Magazine, and an e-mail Johnson published, he cites Wes as an inspiration for not hiding his cinematic influences.

NY MAG: People often say of you, “You’re too cute for your own good. You’re trying to be too clever.”
Johnson: That’s my least favorite phrase. “Too clever for your own good.” It just, it drives me insane. And not even just when people say it about me. They say it about the Coen brothers or Wes Anderson or Terry Gilliam. It’s so dismissive and completely void of any true criticism. It drives me nuts. It means nothing. What is it actually saying?


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