Working with Wes – An Insider’s Perspective

Quite simply put Wes Anderson is one of the most influential filmmakers of modern times, an auteur with enough raw imagination and vision to create unique tapestries of film. The price of uncompromising power over every detail to be executed immaculately? a reputation.

A recent article from The Daily Beast tells of how the cast of the upcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel felt working with the director on his latest feature, some of whom actors who have previously worked along side Anderson.

In the interview Willem Dafoe had this to say:

– “He’s so specific in what he sees and what he wants that you better give it to him, he’s tough.”

Jeff Goldblum adds:

– “I’ve gone to other movies and the director will go, ‘Oh maybe you are wearing this,’ and I’ll go ‘That’s a good idea but how about this? What if I have a hat or a thing?’ With him you don’t do that. You go: ‘What do I get to do in this?’ And he goes: ‘Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, here’s the thing.’ And you go, ok, so, that’s what you sign-up for too. And his ideas are so good. And his taste is so good that you go: ‘Oh, yes please.’”


Long time supporter and key go-to actor Bill Murray also commented on Wes’ filmmaking habits on set of The Grand Budapest Hotel in an article for Collider.


– There wasn’t a whole hell of a lot that we shot that was wrong, because I mean, if you read the script, it’s pretty spare, you know? It’s pretty clean. The storytelling—he spends a lot of time and he’s obviously very specific about how he wants things to look and sound. So there’s not a lot of overage. He’s got a lot of tricky camera moves, so you shoot a lot of goofy takes, where the camera isn’t absolutely perfect, so you do it again. So that’s the only time—that’s the overage. That’s the extra time, is he takes a lot of time to get it perfect.


This isn’t the first time that actors working with Wes Anderson have expressed how meticulous and precious he is about everything from the script to the set dressing, every one of which having unquestionable faith in Anderson’s direction knowing that Wes knows exactly what he wants and what the result will be. As established as it is that Wes is a ‘hardass’ when it comes to directing, actors still jump at the chance to work with the masterful director, and audiences continue to relish their time spent in his worlds – The Grand Budapest Hotel opens March 7th. 

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Will Produce New Film From Peter Bogdanovich

The Playlist points us to an interview that The Last Picture Show director and water bottle enthusiast Peter Bogdanovich did with The National Post in which he drops the information that his next film will be produced by none other than Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. Wes and Noah have discussed their appreciation for Bogdanovich’s work many times, and have become friends with the director, so this isn’t a big surprise.

The film is called Squirrels to the Nuts and Bogdanovich describes it as “a screwball comedy about an escort, a theatre director and a private detective.” Sounds fun. The links on our old post seem to have expired, so if you’d like to watch an excellent three part interview Wes did with Bogdanovich for the DVD release of his 1981 film They All Laughed, you can do so after the break.

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LA Times Talks Directing Controversy on ‘Mr. Fox’

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The  Los Angeles Times, in their Los Angeles Times way, has a rather interesting (if needlessly muck-raking in tone) article on the controversy about Wes’ involvement in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Take it with several very large grains of salt. Share your thoughts at the Yankee Racers Forum, and as always, full story after the break.

To be clear, Wes Anderson did not set out to direct his new movie via e-mail. Even if that’s precisely how the writer-director’s stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — a jaunty visual joy ride that features voice characterizations by George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman — ultimately came to be, Anderson never intended to become an in-box auteur. That choice was made all but inevitable, however, by the Oscar nominee’s unorthodox decision to hole up in Paris for most of the shoot’s one-year duration while principal photography commenced across the English Channel at London’s venerable Three Mills Studios. He wasn’t working on another project, and nothing Paris-centric demanded he be there; Anderson simply “didn’t want to be at Three Mills Studios for two years.” The move did little to endear Anderson to his subordinates. “It’s not in the least bit normal,” director of photography Tristan Oliver observed at the production’s East London set last spring, when production on “Mr. Fox” was about three-quarters complete. “I’ve never worked on a picture where the director has been anywhere other than the studio floor!”  Moreover, Anderson had no idea that his ignorance of stop-motion (the animation technique in which a stationary object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames) and exacting ideas concerning the film’s look would so exasperate his crew.

“Honestly? Yeah. He has made our lives miserable,” the film’s director of animation, Mark Gustafson, said during a break in shooting. He gave a weary chuckle. “I probably shouldn’t say that.”

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Time Out London Talks to Wes

Time Out London recently chatted with Wes about Fantastic Mr. Fox, full interview after the break.

Casually departing the world of live-action filmmaking, Wes Anderson’s latest is a stop-motion retelling of Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s book, ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. Dave Calhoun meets him to discuss how he undertook such a huge project

So you made ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ here in London, at a studio in east London?
‘Yes – but I wasn’t here for the whole shooting. I just came and went. I was in lots of different places, but we had a system set up so I could do what I needed to do from abroad.’

Was the film your idea in the first place?
‘Yes, but about ten years ago. I first met with Felicity Dahl, Roald’s wife, in 2000 to talk about this project.’

Did you always want it to be a stop-motion animated film?
‘Yes, that was the thing right from the beginning.’

All your films, from ‘Bottle Rocket’ (1994) to ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ (2007) have been live action. Did you feel confident about directing stop-motion animation?

‘Well, I didn’t know anything about how you go about it, so I just assumed we’d figure it out.’

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The Times London Talks to Wes

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Times has an interview with Wes about Fantastic Mr. Fox. There’s a section riddled with spoilers that we’ve tried to highlight it for you by italicizing it, so read with caution.

Read the full interview at The Times website, or click read more below.

Meeting Wes Anderson is like being in a Wes Anderson film. Between the man and his work, there is barely enough space to insert a credit card. It would have to be a very ornate credit card, too, printed in the right kind of font and probably withdrawn from a battered yet expensive-looking tan leather wallet. “Nice credit card,” Anderson would say. “Thanks,” you’d say.

We are talking, suitably, in the well-scrubbed clutter of Claridges. Overblown caricatures of wealth are clipping around on the polished black and white tile floor of the lobby, and Anderson himself is leaning back on a plush sofa which clashes, very slightly, with his neat corduroy suit. His brown hair is swept back over his head, his lips are almost the same colour as his skin, and when he laughs, it sounds like a very neat wheeze. “I do remember,” he is saying, “finding a document on the refrigerator. It was labelled ‘How To Deal With a Troubled Angry Child’. And I saw it, and I said, ‘Well, I guess that’s got to be me’.”

What he is describing, pretty much, is a scene from his new film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, in which Ash, the little oddball fox, comes across a note from his school. Just as easily, though, it could be a scene from Bottle Rocket (1996), Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) or The Darjeeling Limited (2007). In conversation, life and film-making seem to blend. An anecdote turns into a scene. A friendship turns into a character.

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“Mr. Fox” is Schwartzman’s Favorite Anderson Film

Fantastic Mr. Fox

MTV Movies has a great interview with Jason Schwartzman about Fantastic Mr. Fox, which Jason says is his favorite Anderson film to date. Read the interview after the break.

LOS ANGELES — If there’s one thing we’ve learned from all those “Ocean’s” movies, it’s that George Clooney has a lot of friends. Now the star has united another massive cast including Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman — although you won’t actually be seeing any of them.

Instead, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” has even more impressive things to show you. As we can see from the recent trailer, the stop-motion animated film (in theaters November 13) is a unique mix of kiddie-fare breeziness (it’s based on a classic Roald Dahl children’s book), indie-minded filmmaking (“Rushmore” writer/director Wes Anderson is in charge) and star-powered vocal chops. As our weeklong Fall Movie Preview continues, Jason Schwartzman pays us a visit to explain why “Mr. Fox” makes him want to cry.

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