This is a tardy, but no less heartfelt wish for many happy returns of the day to the thrice Academy Award nominated** director of Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Budapest Hotel.
Known for a very distinctive visual style and narrative voice, Melver and Texas Anne Anderson’s eldest son, Wesley Wales, was born May 1, 1969 in Houston. He went to St. John’s Prep, which became the basis for Rushmore Academy (and was partially filmed there) and Anderson became known for his complicated theatrical productions, often based on familiar films and television shows, including a sock-puppet version of “The Gambler” (you know, with Kenny Rogers). I think it’s clear that Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) was semi-autobiographical*.
From there he went to the University of Texas at Austin where he met Owen Wilson and gave him a career. Bottle Rocket was conceived in their dorm room and Wilson has starred in, and or cowritten, nearly every film Anderson has made since.
I think I’ve made it obvious that I’m a big Wes Anderson fan, but did you know he’s the great-grandson of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs? I’m not sure that has informed Anderson’s work at all, but it’s still pretty cool. What’s even cooler is that Martin Scorsese is not only a fan, but he once referred to Anderson as “the next Martin Scorsese” in an “Esquire” interview and called Bottle Rocket one of the best films of the ‘90s.
One of the best films of 2014 is certainly Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’ve already sung its praises to you, so I’ll just say “see it if you haven’t…then see it again”.
I’m not certain what Anderson’s next film will be. He’s one of many executive producers on Squirrels to the Nuts (along with Noah Baumbach and a lot of other film makers), which is a comedy written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich due out next year starring Jennifer Aniston, Lucy Punch, Imogen Poots and…Owen Wilson. There’s also an imdb listing for The Rosenthal Suite, which Anderson with Patrice LeConte. “An unlikable, selfish guy hires someone to pose as his best friend in order to win a bet.” It sounds like an English-language version of LeConte’s Mon Meilleur Ami (My Best Friend), but I can’t say for certain. Wes Anderson is only listed as screenwriter, although it sounds squarely within Owen Wilson’s wheelhouse, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is Anderson the director’s next project. If it is, I’ll be buying a ticket.
*that’s true of a lot of Anderson’s films. He writes with his best friends, Wilson and Roman Coppola and casts actors who were who have become friends, over and over. The Darjeeling Limited arose of the desire to write something with Coppola and Schwartzman and also explore India. They lived the movie, then filmed it.
**Best Original Screenplay 2002 The Royal Tenenbaums, Best Animated Feature 2010 Fantastic Mr. Fox, Best Original Screenplay 2013 Moonrise Kingdom