Five Favorite Films with Wes Anderson
Plus, we talk with the writer-director about his new film, the critical smash Moonrise Kingdom.
There aren't many modern American filmmakers with a body of work as unique as that of Wes Anderson. From his debut Bottle Rocket through Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited and the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox, there arguably isn't a director among his contemporaries (or many imitators) who has cultivated such a precise, particular universe on screen -- while finding curious new ways of seeing that world each time.
Anderson's latest is Moonrise Kingdom, a fantastical tale of imagined childhood that follows two kids -- AWOL scout Sam (Jared Gilman) and moody dreamer Suzy (Kara Hayward) -- on their adventure through adolescent first love. Beautifully calibrated both visually and emotionally, the film, which opened Cannes, is drawing some of the best reviews of the director's career.
We had the opportunity to chat with Anderson recently, where he talked about his inspirations for Moonrise Kingdom, his childhood obsessions, and how his experience in animation affected the way he approached his latest project. Read on for that and more, but first, we quizzed him on his Five Favorite Films. "I'll try to do it," Anderson says. "You may have to call it 'The five movies that I just say, for whatever reason,'" he laughs. "I don't know if I'll be able to stand behind them as my five favorites, they'll just be the five I manage to think up right now."
(Roman Polanski, 1968; 98% Tomatometer)
One movie that I often find myself going back to is Rosemary's Baby. This has always been a big influence on me, or a source of ideas; and it's always been one of my favorites. Mia Farrow gives a great, big performance in it, and I've read the script and it's a terrific script. So that's one I'd say.
I think A Clockwork Orange is one that springs to mind. A fully-formed Stanley Kubrick. It's a movie that's very particularly designed and, you know, conjures up this world that you've never seen quite this way in a movie before, but at the same time there's a great sort of spontaneity to it, and a tremendous energy. And both of those are very well adapted, good books.
Another one I could say is Trouble in Paradise. Have you ever seen Trouble in Paradise?
I have, it's great.
Yeah, it is. A great Lubitsch movie. Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins. And Samson Raphaelson is the screenwriter; he did several Lubitsch movies. I don't know if anybody can make a movie like that anymore -- that perfect tone, like a "soufflé"-type of movie. A confection, I guess.
(Jean Renoir, 1935; 100% Tomatometer)
Well recently I watched Grand Illusion, which I haven't seen in several years -- no, I'll say another one instead: There's one called Toni, that's Jean Renoir before Grand Illusion, before Rules of the Game, and it's set in the south of France and they're Italian immigrants who're working, who're laborers working in the South of France. It's very beautiful, kind of lyrical and very sad; a great Renoir movie. I don't know if it's seen that much anymore. It's great.
(Mike Nichols, 1966; 97% Tomatometer)
Next, Anderson talks about his inspirations for Moonrise Kingdom, his childhood obsessions, and how his experience with animation on Fantastic Mr. Fox. influenced his latest film.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? -- that's another one I rewatched recently. When I first saw that movie it made me feel bad. I didn't fall in love with it. I loved The Graduate when I first saw it, but [Virginia Woolf], I wasn't excited by it, because it seemed like there was a negativity about it. But when I watched it more recently I thought it was the most beautiful, inspired, exciting movie. Mike Nichols is one of the most inventive directors that we've had, and that's one of the great, you know, it's a great movie, and a stunning first film.