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.
Looks like Fantastic Mr. Fox will be playing out of competition at the 66th Venice Film Festival. The film will be screened alongside new films from Michael Moore, Steven Soderbergh, and the Coen Brothers, among a host of other films from around the world. Anderson was last at the festival holding the world premiere of The Darjeeling Limited, which played in competition and won the Little Golden Lion prize. The festival runs from September 2nd to the 12th. (Which would make this the world premiere of Fox, coming over a month before the London Film Festival.)
And here’s Fox composer and voice actor Jarvis Cocker on last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Barnes & Noble are having an in-store and online sale on all Criterion DVDs until August 3rd, including both the standard and Blu-Ray editions of Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Quite a good time to complete your Anderson collection. Note: The online store doesn’t seem to indicate that The Life Aquatic is included in the sale but if visit an actual location all Criterions are included.
Also, today’s IMDb poll asks “What is your favorite Wes Anderson film?” Right now Tenenbaums is far ahead of the others. Vote in the poll and tell us your pick in the comments below. Update: Poll closed, Tenenbaums came out on top with 42%. Over 10,000 people voted. See the results here.
Over at the House Next Door, Simon Hsu takes a look at the depiction of Steve Zissou as a scientist.
5. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004): The sense of realness and pathos in Wes Anderson’s film is remarkable, despite the fantasy of the world surrounding its characters: Underwater sea labs, headlight-equipped research dolphins, island-hopping gun battles, etc. This feeling of reality is aided by an undeniable Brechtian self-consciousness, opening with shots of a stage presenting “The Life Aquatic Part 1” to an audience in the film’s world, and closing with the twist that we the real-world viewers have been watching “Part 2” all along. Other examples of this reflexivity exist throughout the film, including jump cuts (boxed up sneakers, cut to sneakers in Bill Murray’s hand, cut to Murray doing toe touch exercises in his new kicks), on-camera documentary filming (Owen Wilson, demonstrating inferior boom mic handling skills), and lateral pans of cross sections of the Belafonte curiously similar to those that Godard/Gorin employ in Tout Va Bien, another highly Brechtian film. All of these strategies heighten the awareness of the protagonist scientist’s mission, exemplifying the primary driving force behind the time, blood and sweat spent on doing what it is we do: The search for truth. Despite the film’s surrealist elements, Zissou faces the same challenges a modern scientist does. Brainstorm, Contact, and Hulk are all conscious of sources of scientific funding, the threat of being shut down and the criticism of scientific peers. But I love that, in Anderson’s film, these predicaments build upon the pathos we derive from the character’s relationships with one another. Zissou is driven to beg his estranged wife for money, more readily demonstrates the acceptance of Ned as his son after learning of Ned’s inheritance and prompts Captain Hennessey to reveal his sexuality. At the end of the film, an initially humorous tumble down a staircase turns sorrowful as Zissou admits he is a “washed up old man with no friends, feeling sorry for himself.” Before his poignant confession, he says to his documenting cameraman “We’ll give them the reality this time.” How many films do?
A San Diego-based cineaste, Simon Hsu does research on protein structure at the UCSD School of Medicine. He is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and looks forward to an upcoming publication in Biochemistry.
The Motion Picture Academy announced Wednesday that for the first time in more than 65 years, the field of best picture nominees will be expanded to 10 contenders for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.
“Having 10 best picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize,” said [Academy president] Sid Ganis in announcing the shift. “I can’t wait to see what that list of 10 looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”
People are speculating this will allow more animation and comedies to slide into the top slot. What this means for Wes?