The year 2012 marked director Wes Anderson’s grand return to live-action filmmaking in the form of MOONRISE KINGDOM. As part of the film’s promotion, Anderson enlisted the services of his frequent collaborator Jason Schwartzman for a Funny or Die sketch called COUSIN BEN TROOP SCREENING.
Hotel Chevalier is an American-French short film written and directed by Wes Anderson and released in 2007. Starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman as former lovers who reunite in a Paris hotel room, the 13-minute film acts as a prologue to Anderson’s 2007 feature The Darjeeling Limited. It was shot on location in a Parisian hotel by a small crew and self-financed by Anderson, who initially intended it to be a stand-alone work.
Its first showing was at the Venice Film Festival première of the feature film on September 2, 2007, and it made its own debut later that month at Apple Stores in four U.S. cities. The day after the film’s première, it was made freely available from the iTunes Store for one month, during which time it was downloaded more than 500,000 times. The film garnered near universal critical acclaim from reviewers, who compared it favorably to The Darjeeling Limited and praised its richness, poignancy, and careful construction.
Moonrise Kingdom is a 2012 American coming-of-age film directed by Wes Anderson, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, and described as an “eccentric, pubescent love story.” It features newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward in the main roles and an ensemble cast. Filming took place in Rhode Island from April to June 2011. Worldwide rights to the independently produced film were acquired by Focus Features.
While preparing the script for Moonrise Kingdom, director Wes Anderson viewed films about young love for inspiration, such as Black Jack, Small Change, A Little Romance, and Melody. The film received critical acclaim, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film was later chosen to be the 95th greatest film since 2000 in an international critics’ poll conducted by BBC.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a 2004 American comedy-drama film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Wes Anderson. It is Anderson’s fourth feature-length film and was released in the United States on 25 December, 2004.
It was written by Anderson and Noah Baumbach and was filmed in and around Naples, Ponza, and the Italian Riviera. The film stars Bill Murray as the eponymous Steve Zissou, an eccentric oceanographer who sets out to exact revenge on the “Jaguar shark” that ate his partner Esteban. Zissou is both a parody of and homage to French diving pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910–1997), to whom the film is dedicated. Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Jeff Goldblum, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Seu Jorge, and Bud Cort are also featured in the film.
Castello Cavalcanti is a short film written and directed by Wes Anderson and released in 2013. Starring Jason Schwartzman as an unsuccessful race car driver who crashes his car in an Italian village, the 8-minute film was filmed at Cinecittà in Rome, Italy and financed by Prada. It debuted at the Rome Film Festival and was released online on November 13, 2013. It quickly became viral and received critical acclaim.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 comedy film written and directed by Wes Anderson, from a story by Anderson and Hugo Guinness, inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. Featuring an ensemble cast, it stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who teams up with one of his employees (Tony Revolori) to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. The film is an American-German-British co-production that was financed by German financial companies and film-funding organizations and was filmed in Germany. The Grand Budapest Hotel was released to widespread acclaim from film critics, and many included it in their year-end top-10 lists.
The film led the BAFTA nominations, with its 11 nominations including Best Film and Best Director for Anderson, and Best Actor for Fiennes. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and garnered three more Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Director for Anderson. It also garnered nine Academy Award nominations, joining Birdman for the most nominations and wins for the ceremony. It won the Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Original Score. In a 2016 BBC poll, critics voted the film the 21st greatest since 2000.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 American stop-motion animated comedy film based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel of the same name. The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground. The film was released in the autumn of 2009 and stars George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, and Owen Wilson.
For director Wes Anderson, it was his first animated film and first film adaptation. Development on the project began in 2004 as collaboration between Anderson and Henry Selick (who worked with Anderson on the 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) under Revolution Studios. In 2007, Revolution folded, Selick left to direct Coraline, and work on the film moved to 20th Century Fox. Production began in London in 2007. It was released on November 13, 2009, and has a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rushmore is a 1998 comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson about an eccentric teenager named Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman in his film debut), his friendship with rich industrialist Herman Blume (Bill Murray), and their mutual love for elementary school teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). The film was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. The soundtrack was scored by regular Anderson collaborator Mark Mothersbaugh and features several songs by bands associated with the British Invasion of the 1960s. The movie helped launch the careers of Anderson and Schwartzman while establishing a “second career” for Murray as a respected actor in independent cinema.
At the 1999 Independent Spirit Awards, Anderson won Best Director award and Murray won Best Supporting Male award. Murray also earned a nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.
The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and co-written with Owen Wilson. The film stars Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Owen Wilson. Ostensibly based on a non-existent novel, and told with a literary narrative, the story follows the lives of three gifted siblings who experience great success in youth, and even greater disappointment and failure in adulthood. The children’s eccentric father Royal Tenenbaum (Hackman) leaves them in their adolescent years, returning to them after they have grown, and falsely claiming to have a terminal illness. Long after he was shunned by his family, Royal gradually reconciles with his children and ex-wife (Huston).
With a variety of influences, including Louis Malle’s 1963 film The Fire Within and Orson Welles’ 1942 film The Magnificent Ambersons, the story involves themes of the dysfunctional family, lost greatness and redemption. An absurdist and ironic sense of humor pervades the film, which features an extensive soundtrack.