Q. Nostalgia for certain periods is a touchstone of Wes Anderson films. How old are you, and do you personally respond to particular elements because they evoke nostalgia for your own childhood?
A. I just turned 46 a couple of weeks ago, so Wes and I do share some of the same film-geek touchstones, like the original “Star Wars” trilogy, which obsessed us both and kind of jump-started Wes’s fascination with building entire worlds on-screen. And we were both into 1970s American dramas and 1960s European art films, and of course the animated “Peanuts” specials directed by Bill Melendez, who’s a huge influence on Wes. But I don’t think I respond to Wes’s films because they’re pushing generational buttons. It’s more about the combination of an extremely precise, rich style and very messy, at times melancholy, emotions.
Is it true that “The Life Aquatic” is your favorite to date, or did “Grand Budapest” supplant it?
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is an incredibly rich film, one of his best, definitely the most logistically and maybe thematically complex. It’s kind of every Wes Anderson film stacked one on top of the other, like a wedding cake.
But yeah, “Aquatic” is my favorite. It’s his least perfect movie. I think even Wes would cop to that, though “Bottle Rocket” might be in there with it because it was his first and he wasn’t in creative control of it. But it’s the one that hits me the hardest.
I went through a period of my life when I lost my wife, my best friend and my stepmother in the space of three years. “The Life Aquatic” speaks to that. It’s about accepting that death is a part of life, and it’s not personal, and you just have to let it go or move through it. “Grand Budapest” has a touch of that as well. Most of his films do.
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