‘Tenenbaums’ A Regal Hit

The Royal Tenenbaums are no less than a regular family doing irregular things. But what makes this family special is their sensational love for lying, stealing, cheating, arguing and fighting- but with their loves come their hates. And with their hates comes a gritty film about divorce, interracial marriage, incest, drugs, and a child’s primary need to be loved. Director Wes Anderson delves into the inner psyche like no other before, and brings to life a beautifully meticulous story.
His third installment to date, Anderson began his road to fame with a small independent film called Bottle Rocket. Catching the appeal of critics and studios alike, he returned with the dry humored Rushmore. Once again, he was acclaimed for his work. But now he’s taken a different turn. Unlike his previous films, Tenenbaums takes a deeper approach to the comedy aspect of family matters.
Anderson and I had the chance to speak about this movie.
He walks to the table in a too-small tailored suit, sneakers, and wire frame glasses, looming over the table. He may not appear to be a major Hollywood player, but the growing sentiment in the business says otherwise. Like his characters, Anderson is nothing like he appears on the surface.
“How long can you keep directing films that don’t make any money?”
“Well, probably not very long,” he replies with a chuckle. Tenenbaums, at a cost of twenty five million, his biggest budgeted film to date, and with a cast of such magnitude, represents to many Anderson’s baptism to the mainstream.
“It’s intimidating to have all these big actors at first, but I pretty quickly became comfortable with them,” he said.
Independent from traditional studio thinking, big names have taken notice of Anderson’s work. This particular cast has put their trust into Anderson’s reputation, sacrificing paydays and their usual creative control for the greater good.
But perhaps the actors are attracted to Anderson’s unyielding internal vision of composition. Every shot is meticulously planned and executed within his head. This is not an easy task, considering Anderson is a fairly new director. Even though inspiration is not hard to come by, his accomplishments come from only the best.
Roman Polanski, John Houston, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, all famous for story and characterization, not for their epic nature, are sources from which Anderson draws his creative insight. Though Anderson need not look that far for direction. Similarities run rampant in his own family dynamics.
“There’s a lot of stuff connected to [my mother],” he said. “The main thing that is her is the way that she encouraged the children to pursue all these different activities and expose them to a lot of different things and keep them kind of motivated in all their pursuits.”
And this motivation is what spawned Anderson’s work more than anything. The Royal Tenenbaums is a brilliant film that dares to juggle taboo subjects about life in general. But that’s not all. The layer of thinking lies far beneath the grain, submerged in a world of reality and reverie.
So what’s next in life for Anderson? Will he ever going to give into the big bucks of FX films?
“Well, I don’t have an idea for one, ” he said. “So I don’t know, it might be fun, but it’s certainly not something I’m that excited to do.”
But one thing can be sure, whatever his next project will be, he will not have to take that endeavor alone.
Backing him up will be only the best, for a director that assures nothing but the best deserves it.
The Royal Tenenbaums: featuring Gene Hackman , Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Bill Murray and Danny Glover. Rated R.

January 22, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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