Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson has loved Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox story since he was a child and this week he brings his adaptation to a cinema screen near you.

The filmmaker studied philosophy at the university of Texas, where he met funny man Owen Wilson and it was the start of a great partnership.

Together the filmed a black and white short of Bottle Rocket, which attracted the attention of producer James L. Brooks. With his help the short appeared at the Sundance Film Festival and managed to get funding to produce a feature length version of Bottle Rocket in 1996.

After leaving his voluntary confinement in a mental home, Anthony (Luke Wilson) joins his friends Dignan (the film's co-writer, Owen Wilson) and Bob (Robert Musgrave) in a bookstore heist.

In need of direction, more so than money, the three guys prove to be polite, but rather inept, criminals. Nevertheless the job is a success, and the trio head out to a remote hotel, planning to lay low until they can return to join a gang of supposed professional criminals lead by the infamous Mr. Henry (James Caan).

While the movie, which was also written by Anderson and Wilson, was a commercial failure Anderson caught the eye of the critics as the movie was very well received.

Anderson's second movie Rushmore, despite Bill Murray earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, also struggled at the box office in 1998 but it was to be his 2001 movie The Royal Tenenbaums that really saw Anderson's career soar.

He once teamed up with his old pal Owen Wilson to pen the script and Wilson went on to star in the movie alongside Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston and Ben Stiller.

In their youth, the Tenenbaums, an eccentric New York family, were extraordinary. They were all geniuses. Royal Tenenbaum (Hackman) was a successful litigator. His wife Etheline (Huston) raised their children to be ambitious, entrepreneurial, and creative, then published an acclaimed book about her child-rearing techniques.

Adopted daughter Margot (Paltrow) was a gifted playwright. Son Chas (Stiller) was a masterful businessman with a taste for real estate. And the other son, Richie (Luke Wilson), was a natural tennis champ.

However, when Royal packed up his life and left his wife and his family in a cloud of betrayal, everything fell apart.

Twenty years later, the Tenenbaums are a dejected and alienated bunch, each having found that their early successes did not carry over into adulthood. When washed-up Royal learns that his distant wife Etheline, who has become an archaeologist, may remarry, he feigns illness as an excuse to reunite with his estranged family.

The movie was met well by the critics upon it's release and the film went on to gross over $52 million, almost doubling it's budget.

Gene Hackman won a Golden Globe for his central performance while Anderson and Owen Wilson screenplay was nominated for an Oscar.

After a three year hiatus Anderson returned with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in 2004. But once again the film struggled at the box office and failed to make back it's budget.

However he fared a little better with The Darjeeling Limited in 2007, which once again saw him work with Owen Wilson.

But this week sees him move into animation movies for the very first time with Fantastic Mr Fox, which boasts the voice talent of Oscar winners George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

The film has been met with great reviews on the festival circuit, opening the London Film Festival last week, and it looks like this one is going to be a box office success.

The Fantastic Mr Fox is out now.

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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