Just got off the phone with Wes Anderson, unwinding from the Cannes Film Festival with some friends in Italy. (Tough life). Moonrise Kingdom, his strongest film in years, is set to open June 1 in Dallas. He feels good about it, but acknowledges something (or someone) is missing. That would be Dallas’ Owen Wilson, an Anderson staple as an actor and a co-writer.
“This is the first movie I’ve made that he hasn’t been directly involved with, although he was around as a friend,” says Anderson, above at Cannes, who became good buddies with Wilson at the University of Texas shortly before they made their first feature, Bottle Rocket. “We started out doing this stuff together in the first place. It’s a family dynamic.”
The good news: Anderson’s current script in progress, a large ensemble piece, has a part for his old friend, and Wilson says he’s in.
A trailer has appeared for this year’s Woody Allen offering, Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson. We’re glad to see Wilson working with another master after some less than thrilling films. We’ve enjoyed much of Allen’s European work, and this looks splendid. Wilson is joined by Darjeeling co-star Adrien Brody, and a great cast including France’s first lady Carla Bruni.
Midnight in Paris is out in the US on May 20th, through Sony Pictures Classics.
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 “Owen Wilson Interviews Woody Harrelson”
Ask people who have been there, and they will all tell you India is like no other place in the world, a land that stirs every one of the five senses and stays in your heart forever. It is this India that brought together three friends, Waris Ahluwalia, Mortimer Singer and Tina Bhojwani to raise funds, spirits, and awareness for the victims of the attacks in Mumbai in November, 2008. The editors set out to create a scrapbook collecting personal photos, stories, and memories from people who, like themselves, love India. The contributors include Wes Anderson, Adrien Brody, Francesco Clemente, Anthony Edwards, Jeanine Lobell, Natalie Portman, Yves Carcelle, Jean Touitou, Owen Wilson, Laura Wilson, Cynthia Rowley, James Ivory, Matthew Williamson, Rachel Roy, Tory Burch, Padma Lakshmi and Shobhaa De. This book declares to Mumbai and the whole country that we are all thinking of them and support them: hence To India, with Love: New York to Mumbai. Profits from the sales of the book will go to support families affected by the attacks. This book can truly make a difference, by opening eyes to the wonders of India and by once again letting the pen or a camera dominate the sword.
What’s another $4,000 after paying private school tuition? That was probably the pitch made by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson to their fathers, a year after the two met in a playwriting class at the University of Texas at Austin and decided to pen a script together about a trio of unlikely hoodlums. Similar to the clueless would-be criminals they created — Bob (Robert Musgrave), Anthony (Luke Wilson) and Dignan (Owen Wilson) — Anderson and Wilson scored the initial amount of cash that they asked for from their parents, but only wound up shooting eight minutes of 16mm footage before running out of funds. As a result, the Wilsons’ father contacted family friend and “Paris, Texas” screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson to see if the kids’ work had promise, which led to Carson finding enough money to finance the rest of the 13-minute short, as well as producer Barbara Boyle getting in touch with then-Gracie Films vice president Polly Platt. The short got into Sundance in 1993, and though the unusually rhythmic patter of the characters didn’t make much of an impression on audiences in Park City, it got the attention of Platt’s boss, James L. Brooks, who would ultimately bankroll the feature — which ironically was rejected by Sundance, though there’s no question who got the last laugh.
So What’s Different? Beyond an expansion of the plot, not a whole lot is different except for a jazzier score and that it’s shot in black-and-white.
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.
These are said to be the press notes and credits for Fantastic Mr. Fox. I cannot absolutely confirm their authenticity at this point but have no reason to believe that they are are a fabrication.
Based on the beloved story by Roald Dahl, the film tells the tale of the noble, charming and fantastic Mr. Fox, who uses his wits and cunning to outfox three dimwitted farmers who tire of sharing their chickens with the crafty creature.
“Boggis and Bunce and Bean. One short, one fat, one lean. These horrible crooks, so different in looks, were nonetheless equally mean.”
Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited) directs the stop-motion animation of Roald Dahl’s much loved children’s book. Fantastic Mr. Fox is voiced by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Michael Gambon, and scheduled for release in the fall of 2009.
(credit: Houston Chronicle, more photos after the break)
First, if you live in the Houston area, you can see Rushmore tonight on the big screen!
Discovery Green’s free movie series celebrates Houston on film with a 10th anniversary screening of this indie classic by Houstonian Wes Anderson.
Event times: 5 September 2008 (Friday), 7.30 pm (link)
Andrew Dansby has written a great article about the 10th anniversary of Rushmore for the Houston Chronicle (link):
It takes a special eye to see Houston as the setting for a fairy tale. Wes Anderson thought about shooting his second film, Rushmore, in New England, but he couldn’t find a location that worked for the titular school.
So he asked his mother, real estate agent Texas Anderson, to shoot his alma mater, St. John’s School, “standing in the circle and rotating while shooting one photo after another,” she said. The search ended there.
Having found Rushmore Academy right in his backyard, Wes Anderson’s next task was finding Houston locations for the rest of the film. (By the way, the city is never stated as the setting in the movie.) He shot most of it at St. John’s, but there are also scenes filmed at a home in West University, Lamar High School, a barbershop in the Heights, North Shore High School, the Forest Club on Memorial and a stadium parking lot just outside the Loop (see map on Page E3).