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Wes Anderson

From Bottle Rocket to The Darjeeling Limited

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Wes Anderson had me with Rushmore.

The thirty-eight year old independent filmmaker from Texas was recently awarded the Stockholm Film Festival's Visionary Award for his humane and humorous portrayal of lonely people. They populate all of Wes Anderson films: from the maladjusted Digman (Owen Wilson) in his yellow jumpsuit in his first film Bottle Rocket (1996), the brilliant but socially awkward Max Fisher in Rushmore (1998), to the trio of semi-deranged, but lovable Whitman brothers in Anderson's most recent film, The Darjeeling Limited (2007).

The Master Of Quirk
After receiving enormous and well deserved praise for his first two films, the precocious director became bogged down -- and nearly drowned -- in a flood of quirk. The Royal Tennebaums (2001) continued from where Rushmore (1998) left off, but instead of just one heartbreaking, empathetic, conflicted genius -- the unforgettable Max Fisher -- there were four, all of them clamoring for attention.

Next, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) featured a memorable sprawling submarine diorama, Bill Murray, and a long list of talented co-stars wearing funny red caps and blue jumpsuits, but lacked a coherent story. With his biggest budget yet, Anderson's vision was hijacked by whimsy: clever props, a hipster soundtrack, jaw dropping casting, terrific costume design, but the characters suffered from obsession with all the wrong details.

Fortunately, Anderson has returned to form with The Darjeeling Limited (2007), the funny and moving story of three brothers who make a spiritual journey across India.

Trademark Wes Anderson
Anderson doesn't work alone. The filmmaker is famous for his collaborations with the Wilson brothers. Luke Wilson appeared in Anderson's first three films. Anderson and Owen Wilson co-wrote Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tennenbaums, and Owen has appeared in all of Anderson's films, including his most recent, heartbreaking performance as oldest brother Francis.

In addition to the Wilsons, Wes Anderson also has a steady crew of regulars who appear and reappear in his films including Jason Scwartzman, Bill Murray, Kumar Pallana, and Angelica Huston.

Trivia:
Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartman were roommates in Paris, while Scwartzman was filming Marie Antoinette. It was during this time that they started writing Darjeeling, later adding Roman Coppola to the team.

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