You can’t really predict one’s process. Or from what they draw upon. These are words spoken by Wes Anderson, a filmmaker who needs no introduction around these parts. That said, the influence of ‘60s European cinema on his work are undeniable. And he’s not shy about that either. In a new talk captured by ArteTV, he took a break from “Isle of Dogs,” his latest, to discuss those influences, as well as “Rushmore,” his love of Christmas specials, his relationship with Owen Wilson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and more.
The hour-long masterclass session, isn’t necessarily enlightening if you already know about the filmmaker and his background, but it’s always a joy to hear one of our great filmmakers talk about film, especially the movies that made him who he is today. In addition to discussing how Hitchcock, Spielberg and “Barfly” — to merely name a few — inspired him and awoke his early filmmaking desires, he talks about how reading and watching films in his formative years helped substitute film school. Beyond that, the director also delves into his relationship with film (as in celluloid), his “informal,” downright playful relationship with Alexandre Desplat, a composer Anderson admires greatly (and who happens to live a few houses down the street), how music informs his work, the impact Owen Wilson had on “Rushmore,” and much more.
He also goes into some juicy details about directing Jeff Goldblum, Gene Hackman and Ralph Fiennes. Apparently, Goldblum loves to get as many details about the character as possible, whereas Hackman doesn’t like to be directed at all, preferring to get it all down in one single take, if possible. Fiennes, meanwhile, is one to always demand another take, and he’s usually one to get even better with each one. For what it’s worth, Anderson’s sly mastery of their individual mannerisms is worth the click alone.
“Isle of Dogs” is only briefly mentioned, and there’s no discussion of any potential other works cooking in his mind. But if you want to spend an hour with one of our finest working filmmakers, then you’ll find a lot to love in this newest, extended masterclass video. Be sure to check it out.
FYI, don’t be alarmed by the French. It kicks into English after the one-minute mark.