Wes Anderson turns fifty today. 50 is a big deal. If you’ve come this far it probably means one, or both, of two things: (1) you’ve got awesome survival skills and (2) you’re the type of person who looks forward to whatever comes next. I wonder how the passage of time has affected Wes Anderson, our great American filmmaker. Does the spark to create more easily? Or, rather, do he fall into a new project a lot more easily than he did before? Does he work out? Because that is how I would imagine life to be at 50 (I’m not very far from 50 myself, at 47). Indulging yourself, no fear, run with it.
Anderson, part-dandy part-indie cinema enfant terrible, was born in Texas. He attended the University of Texas in Austin and majored–no surprise–in philosophy. The Texan gentleman became friends with Owen Wilson at UoT and began making short films, some of which aired on PACs. One of his shorts, for which he cast Owen and his brother Luke Wilson, was “Bottle Rocket” (1993). It was submitted to the Sundance Film Festival and made enough of an impression that Anderson was able to secure funds for a feature-length version. “Bottle Rocket” (1996) got Anderson the beginning of a cult following. Success soon followed after this with films like “Rushmore” (1998), which was an instant classic, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004), “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001) an animated feature, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009), “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Isle of Dogs.”
There’s something bewitchingly childish about Anderson’s movies. A little precious, too. Too childish, sometimes. In “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson’s denoting of an ameliorated past makes us cherish our childhoods (some past lives?) more. So many cool and intense things happened when we were young, writing instruments and objects were recognizable, and of sturdier quality, and overtures from someone we secretly admired became the mile markers of our early affective lives. Is Anderson insolently nostalgic? How much time, exactly, does he spend in flea markets?
Wes Anderson has eighteen films under his belt as filmmaker. He’s gotten nominated twice for an Academy Award and brought Bill Murray out of early retirement (Anderson deserves the Nobel Prize for this). His next film, “The French Dispatch,” will star Léa Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan and Elisabeth Moss and will come out in 2020.
Here he is being interviewed by Charlie Rose about the success of “Rushmore” (and here’s to eighteen more!)