Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors, but I more appreciate his earlier work: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore (especially) and of course, The Royal Tenenbaums. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was good but not great, and went on to become a box office failure. The film, which cost more than the budgets of this three previous films combined, went on to make only $24 million at the box office. But commercial success aside, it wasn’t his best film. I’ll be seeing The Darjeeling Limited later this week, but advance buzz puts it a step above Aquatic, but a step below his earlier films. So one must wonder: What happened?
Anderson wrote his first three films in collaboration with Owen Wilson, Aquatic with Noah Baumbach, and Darjeeling with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman. So one must wonder if Wilson was part of the magic that made the first three films so great? And if so, when will Anderson sit down with Wilson and pen another project together. Thankfully, Vogue asked Anderson, and this is what he said:
“It will happen,” Anderson said. “I don’t know what the factors will be, but I believe it will happen.” He didn’t look like he wholly believed it would. As though to reassure himself, he added, “We actually talked about doing something not long ago.”
I’m not sure I buy the optimism, but I sure hope it happens. And afterall, Owen never wanted to be an actor in the first place – he wanted to write. Here is an interesting and telling story of Owen Wilson’s first acting performance:
There were nine students in the writing class, and the big assignment was to write a play. “Wes was the one who actually finished his,” Wilson told me. It was called A Night in Tunisia. The teacher, Webster Smalley, singled Wes’s play out, and it was given a production in the college auditorium. Wes wanted Owen to play the main character, but Owen “never wanted to be an actor,” Anderson said. “I had to talk him into it. Luke would do it, but Owen was always trying to find other guys to do his parts.”
After the first performance, during a dialogue with the audience, the play was warmly complimented. But one person was critical, and that person happened to be James Michener, the author, who then was teaching at the University of Texas. “He singled Owen out,” Anderson recalled, smiling his toothy smile. “He said, ‘That guy is very inappropriate and doesn’t seem to know how to act.’â€‰”
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