Wes Anderson is a highly revered Hollywood filmmaker who has mastered the art of producing extraordinary and exemplary movies. Some examples are the Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel that are considered to be the greatest films that have ever been made.
Today we shall be taking an in-depth glance at the career of the Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning American director and filmmaker, Wes Anderson.
Early Life Of Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson’s complete name is Wesley Wales Anderson. He was born on May 1, 1969, in Houston, Texas to real estate and public relations professionals. His father and mother were Texas Ann Anderson and Melver Leonard Anderson.
Wes Anderson is the second among three kids. His siblings are Mel and Eric. Mel is a physician while Eric is a writer whose paintings have featured in Wes Anderson’s films such as The Royal Tenenbaums.
Wes Anderson’s parents separated when he was just eight years old. His ancestry is Scandinavian and English. He completed his B.A. in Philosophy in 1991 from the University of Texas at Austin. During the course of his study, Wes Anderson was involved as a cinema projectionist with a film studio.
His initial education was completed at St. John’s School in Houston. When he became a filmmaker, he used St. John’s school as a leading location in his movie named Rushmore.
Interest In Cinematography
Right from a young age, Wes Anderson was attracted to filming equipments. One peculiar instance was that he used to make silent films on a Super 8 camera. The camera was of his father and Wes Anderson used to film his family and friends with it.
It might come out as a surprise but Wes Anderson, the renowned filmmaker of Hollywood was initially interested in being a writer rather than a film director.
It was 1996 when Wes Anderson gave his secondary passion a go. He directed his first movie titled Bottle Rocket. It was based on a short film of the same name. Bottle Rocket received critical acclaim and the critics praised the work of Wes Anderson. However, this appreciation failed to convert into financial success at the box office.
Wes Anderson was dead sure that he delivered an excellent debut project but seeing the lack-luster performance at the box office was a hindrance. Wes released his second directorial movie named Rushmore in 1998 that changed his fate. Rushmore was a comedy movie about a high school student crushing on an elementary school teacher.
The movie featured Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Olivia Williams. Rushmore went on to become a grand success in Hollywood. To date, Rushmore remains a fan favorite. In 2016, the film was chosen for US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It was labeled as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Wes Anderson: A Consistent Filmamker
The beginning of the 21st century marked the arrival of The Royal Tenenbaums, a comedy-drama directed by Wes Anderson. It became a massive hit among the critics and the audience. Empire magazine ranked it in the top 160 greatest films to have been ever made.
The Royal Tenenbaums was also nominated for an Academy Award. It starred Anjelica Houston, Luke Wilson, and Ben Stiller in pivotal roles. We have covered the Rise to Fame story of Ben Stiller in a separate story. Feel free to check it out.
Wes Anderson then came up with another film titled The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in 2004. Not highly successful, the film received negative reviews from critics.
In 2007, Wes Anderson compensated for his poor projects by releasing The Darjeeling Limited, a movie that Wes Anderson was inspired to make after coming across the works of Indian filmmaker and producer Satyajit Ray.
Wes Anderson admits that he has been majorly influenced by Satyajit Ray in his career. The Hollywood director traveled to India to film The Darjeeling Limited partly as a tribute to his inspiration Satyajit.
Making It To The Oscars
The 2007 success of The Darjeeling Limited followed another commercial success venture of Wes titled The Grand Budapest Hotel. It fetched Wes Anderson his first-ever Oscar nomination for Best Director. The movie starred celebrities such as Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, and Saorise Rona.
It grossed over $170 million overseas along with earning nine Oscars Award nominations. The movie ended up winning 4 out of 9 Oscar awards for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, and Best Original Score.
A stop-motion animation movie directed by Wes Anderson in 2018 also fetched Academy Awards nominations for the Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. The title of the film was Isle of Dogs.
One of Wes Anderson’s projects was postponed due to the COVID pandemic in 2020. It’s a film titled The French Dispatch featuring Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson along with many others in pivotal roles.
The French Dispatch was scheduled for a July 2020 release but the pandemic has pushed it further to 2021. There is no official release date announced so far.
Apart from The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson s working on one more project, the details of which are highly secretive at the moment. In May 2021 it was announced that it will be filmed in the Spanish city of Chinchón, where a huge diorama set reproducing Monument Valley is under construction.
About his family life, Wes Anderson is a father to a 5-year-old daughter named Freya. Freya has been named after the character from the film The Mortal Storm. Wes Anderson is in a relationship with Lebanese writer, costume designer, and voice actress Juman Malouf with whom he has his one and only daughter.
Anderson has been noted for extensive use of flat space camera moves, obsessively symmetrical compositions, knolling, snap-zooms, slow-motion walking shots, a deliberately limited color palette, and hand-made art direction often utilizing miniatures. He has earned for himself a top-spot amongst the best in the business.