- Wes Anderson
name = Wes Anderson
caption = Wes Anderson in
birthdate = birth date and age|1969|5|1
location = Houston,
birthname = Wesley Wales Anderson
film director, screenwriter, producer and actor
academyawards = Nominated: Best Original Screenplay
The Royal Tenenbaums"
Wesley Wales Anderson (born
May 1, 1969) is an American director, writer, actor, and producer of features, short films and commercials. He was nominated for a 2001 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for " The Royal Tenenbaums".
The second of three brothers, Anderson was born in
Houston, Texas. His father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and currently owns a public relations firm in Houston; his mother, Texas Ann Burroughs, a former archaeologist, is now a real estate agent.
Anderson attended both Westchester High School and St. John's School, a
private schoolin Houston, which he later featured as a location for his second film, "Rushmore". Like "Rushmore"'s protagonist, Max Fischer, Anderson wrote and directed plays on the stage of St. John's now-demolished Hoodwink Theatre.
philosophyat the University of Texas, where he met Owen Wilson. After producing a short version of "Bottle Rocket", Anderson and Wilson attracted the notice of producer James L. Brooks. With Brooks' help, the two were able to enter the short at Sundance and secure funding for a feature-length " Bottle Rocket".
Anderson divides his time between New York City and Paris, France. His friends include a diverse set of fellow filmmakers, including the screenwriter-director
Noah Baumbach, the actor-screenwriter Owen Wilson, and director-actress Sofia Coppola. His brother, Eric, designs both sets and styles on his films. His older brother, Mel, is a doctor.
Wes Anderson has been called an
last = Smith
first = Derek
title = The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
url = http://www.cinematicreflections.com/TheLifeAquatic.html
publisher = Cinematic Reflections
year = 2004
month = December
accessdate = 2007-08-22] , as he is involved in every aspect of his films' production: writing, cinematography, production design, music selection.
Anderson has acknowledged that French directors
François Truffautand Louis Malleinfluenced his penchant for sympathetic tragicomedy, unconventional mise-en-scene, and personal approach to filmmaking.Fact|date=November 2007 He often cites Mike Nichols' " The Graduate" as a recurring inspiration.Fact|date=November 2007 He has stated that he is a fan of Hal Ashby. Anderson is also noted for drawing on famous works of American literature, particularly those of F. Scott Fitzgeraldand J.D. Salinger.Fact|date=November 2007 Fitzgerald's famous quote, "There are no second acts in American lives," applies to many of Anderson's characters, who tend to fall quickly from their initial success and renown (although many of them make limited comebacks). Salinger influences are seen in " Bottle Rocket" (Anthony and his sister's relationship parallels Phoebe and Holden Caulfield in " The Catcher in the Rye", and both girls have a friend named Bernice. Also, Anthony's sweater was red as was Holden's hunting hat. More poignantly, Anthony's time spent in a mental health facility-which is where Holden is supposedly telling his story from) and "Rushmore" (Max is expelled from his prestigious school, as is Caulfield; he also, in an apparent homage to the book, is on the school's fencing team, and, while bright, an underachieving student).
The family structure in "
The Royal Tenenbaums" also echoes Salinger's Glass family, each of the Glass children being renowned to some degree in the same way each of the Tenenbaum children achieve their respective success. Also, the scene in " The Royal Tenenbaums" where Etheline visits Margot who is soaking in the bathtub mirrors much of " Franny and Zooey" where Zooey is soaking in the tub, smoking and talking to his mother, BessieFact|date=November 2007. It is also worth noting that in Salinger's short story " Down at the Dinghy" we learn that the married name of the oldest Glass sister, Boo Boo, is Tannenbaum. However, the name Tenenbaum is purported to have come from Brian Tenenbaum, a close friend of Anderson's who appears in several of his films, including " The Royal Tenenbaums".
Anderson's stylized films also borrow youthful aesthetic qualities from comics such as Charles Schulz's "
Peanuts" (" The Royal Tenenbaums"/"Rushmore"). A less well-known aesthetic influence is the French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue: the name Zissou derives from Lartigue's brother's name, and his old photos reveal similarities with Anderson's visuals.Fact|date=November 2007
Anderson has recently acknowledged that he went to India to film his 2007 film, "
The Darjeeling Limited" partly as a tribute to the legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, whose "films have also inspired all my other movies in different ways." He dedicated the movie to Ray's memory.cite web
title = On Ray's Trail
url = http://www.thestatesman.net/page.arcview.php?clid=30&id=172929&usrsess=1
publisher = The Statesman
accessdate = 2007-10-19]
Wes Anderson is known for making independent-type stylistic films which mix poignancy and dry humor. Examples of his humor includes malapropism and understatement. Anderson’s films, visually, often make use of close-ups, quick pans, and slow motion shots. He often uses folk and early rock as the background-music in scenes. His often damaged characters are viewed in a compassionate light. The depiction of escapism and companionship through chemicals seems to be one of his trademarks also. In each of his films, one or more of the main characters smokes cigarettes or marijuana, excessively drinks, takes pills, etc. To accompany the cigarettes in his films he also features zippo lighters prominently; from Dignan lighting firecrackers to Bill Murray in Rushmore. Additionally, his films often feature a heavy-smoking female character. A recurring character in Anderson's films is a respected middle aged male who is essentially a fraud. All of Anderson's films, with the exception of "The Darjeeling Limited", end with slow motion sequences - although "
The Darjeeling Limited"'s third to last shot is in slow motion. Also, with the exception of the independently financed " Bottle Rocket", his films employ a similar visual style, primarily through the use of vivid pastel colors. He is known for deliberate, methodical cinematography, using 90 degree camera angles, parallel and perpendicular arrangement of forms, and frequent use of symmetry. All of Anderson's films utilize the font Futura Bold in either the opening credits, title sequences or closing credits and is also displayed in other printed materials used throughout his films. Each film also uses Futura Bold to display the main closing credits in a particular format where the first name is displayed in a title case and the last name is displayed in all caps. Furthermore, every Wes Anderson movie contains a shot of one or more characters under water.
Anderson's films feature many of the same actors, crew members, and other collaborators. For example, the Wilson brothers (Owen, Luke, and Andrew),
Bill Murray, Seymour Cassel, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Kumar Pallanaand son Dipak Pallana, Stephen Dignan and Brian Tenenbaum (Anderson's close friends), and Eric Chase Anderson(Anderson's brother).
Other frequent collaborators are writer
Noah Baumbach, who co-wrote " The Life Aquatic", and wrote/directed his own film, " The Squid and the Whale", with Anderson as producer. Also cinematographer Robert Yeoman(A.S.C.), and composer Mark Mothersbaugh.
In 2005, Anderson produced "
The Squid and the Whale", written and directed by "Life Aquatic" co-writer Noah Baumbach. It won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival.Fact|date=November 2007 In 2006, he directed and starred in a "My Life, My Card" American Expresscommercial.
Owen Wilson reunited with Anderson on the 2007 film, "
The Darjeeling Limited". The script is written by Anderson, Roman Coppolaand Jason Schwartzman.cite web
title = Wilson & Anderson reminisce over a cup of Darjeeling
url = http://productionweekly.com/2006/08/02/wilson-and-anderson-reminisce-over-a-cup-of-darjeeling/
publisher = Production Weekly
year = 2006
month = August
accessdate = 2007-08-22] Anderson's
stop-motion animationadaptation of the Roald Dahlbook, "Fantastic Mr Fox" is slated for 2009 release.
Acclaim and criticism
Critical reviews of Anderson's early work were positive, with some exceptions. His second film "Rushmore" was a critical darling, and many argued that Anderson would soon become a major artistic voice in American cinema.Fact|date=November 2007 Many critics noted a strong sense of sympathetic but intelligent humanism in Anderson's films that linked them to the work of
Jean Renoirand François Truffaut.Fact|date=November 2007 Filmmaker Martin Scorseseis a fan of Anderson's, praising " Bottle Rocket" and "Rushmore" in an Esquire magazinearticle.Fact|date=November 2007 " The Royal Tenenbaums" was also a critical favorite and garnered Anderson an Academy Award nomination. The film was his first high-profile commercial success, featuring several established movie stars.Fact|date=November 2007
In September 2006, following the disappointing commercial and critical reception of "
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", Steely Dan's Walter Beckerand Donald Fagenreleased a tongue-in-cheek "letter of intervention" of Anderson's artistic "malaise". Proclaiming themselves to be fans of "World Cinema" and Anderson in particular, they offered Anderson their soundtrack services for his " The Darjeeling Limited", including lyrics for a title track.cite web
last = Becker
first = Walter
authorlink = Walter Becker
title = Attention Wes Anderson
url = http://www.steelydan.com/heywes.html
year = 2006
month = August
accessdate = 2007-08-22]
Anderson has also been criticized by journalist
Jonah Weinerfor his allegedly shallow portrayals of non-white characters [cite web|url=http://www.slate.com/id/2174828/|title="Unbearable Whiteness: That queasy feeling you get when watching a Wes Anderson movie."|work=Jonah Weiner|accessmonthday=March 26 |accessyear=2008] . Reihan Salam of The Atlantic Monthly offered a rebuttal to this line of criticism [cite web|url=http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/10/reihan_defending_wes_anderson.php|title="Reihan: Defending Wes Anderson"|work=Reihan Salam|accessmonthday=March 26 |accessyear=2008] .
In September 2007, Wes Anderson oversaw a series of six commercials for AT&T: “College Kid,” “Reporter,” “Mom,” “Architect,” “Actor” and “Businessman.” The campaign also includes online, print and outdoor advertising. These TV spots are part of AT&T's "Your Seamless World" national campaign from BBDO/New York. Each ad embodies Anderson's distinct style by focusing on a subject and having the environment around them change. Each of the six AT&T commercials introduces us to a different AT&T customer. As each of these people comes before the camera and talks about the different, far-reaching locales where he or she needs cell-phone service, the visuals behind the customer change dramatically to reflect the different destinations.
The "Reporter" piece was subject to controversy when several Lebanese-American groups protested its airing as ignorant given the complex and sensitive nature of the Lebanese political situation. The ad portrayed photojournalists dodging bullets on a Beirut rooftop while the city was being bombed. It was subsequently pulled from rotation after the assassination of Antoine Ghanem on September 19, 2007 with AT&T and BBDO issuing public apologies. [http://www.rcrnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070911/SUB/70911009]
Anderson also starred in and directed an
American Express"My Life, My Card" commercial, which chronicled the "filming" of an action movie starring Jason Schwartzman. Anderson acts as if he is being interviewed by someone from American Express for the ad, while walking around completing tasks on set. It was aired on television and in movie theaters in both a short and extended version, during and shortly after the theatrical release of " The Life Aquatic".
Bottle Rocket" (1994)
Hotel Chevalier" (2007)
* " [http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1409900,00.html Into The Deep] ", in-depth Anderson profile at "
* [http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0300-MAR_SCORSESE_6 "Wes Anderson"] , brief profile by Martin Scorsese
* [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-53747380.html Wes Anderson interviews Bill Murray] at Interview
* [http://comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=15819 Announcement of Wes Anderson's new film "The Darjeeling Limited"]
* [http://www.ioncinema.com/news.php?nid=2212/ IONCINEMA.com interview with Wes Anderson for The Darjeeling Limited]
* [http://www.rushmoreacademy.com/ The Rushmore Academy - The Films of Wes Anderson (fan site)]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/thehour/video.php?id=1772 Wes Anderson Interview] on
The Hourwith George Stroumboulopoulos
* [http://www.omglists.com/article/69653/5-signs-youre-watching-a-wes-anderson-movie/ 5 Signs You're Watching a Wes Anderson Movie]
* [http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/16_films_without_which_wes/ 16 Films Without Which Wes Anderson Couldn't Have Happened]
NAME= Anderson, Wesley
DATE OF BIRTH= 1969-5-1
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
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