Wes Anderson explains the perks of being a perfectionist

Related Stories Wes Anderson Gives Style a Malice Wes Anderson is back with Isle of Dogs (on Fandango), his first film since 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson is a self-professed perfectionist whose scripts are…

Wes Anderson explains the perks of being a perfectionist

Related Stories Wes Anderson Gives Style a Malice

Wes Anderson is back with Isle of Dogs (on Fandango), his first film since 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson is a self-professed perfectionist whose scripts are often unwieldy—one of his actresses has described his writing style as “almost like a game of peekaboo.” And yet, he seems to elicit starry chemistry—among actors, anyway—from the first time they step on the set. Can you explain why?

Wes Anderson’s acting background is in theater. He’s way better at allowing actors to create and perform than anybody else I’ve ever worked with. You are only limited by your imagination. The fact that he’s able to take a scene and make it become whatever it’s meant to be, is definitely… he’s able to take an idea that can be very tangential or comedic and turn it into something completely engrossing, and become the scene.

Because he’s such a busy man on set, and because he likes to work with up-and-coming actors who haven’t been released onto the screen, you never feel like they’re being pushed by any other person on the film. You feel like it’s their film. And it is. It’s a wonderful atmosphere to be in and to make a film in. You never feel like the director has an agenda. You don’t feel like your scene has to be entirely in sync with the story. They don’t have an agenda for you. You know, if anything, they’re asking you to present the work that you think you’re going to present and if the work is really good and the moment has been formed in a way that’s interesting to you, you can give it 110 percent, and they won’t pick apart the work that way. There’s no overriding opinion other than, “Great!” There’s no one who is trying to say, “What do you think?”

He’s a lightning rod for the criticism that he’s worked with actors who are special, and that he’s made films that are not as good as the ones he made before. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just happens to be easier said than done, because there’s always one person who thinks that way. But that’s their problem, and it shouldn’t affect the way I work at all. I’m thinking, “Gee, this is a great scene.” I’m not thinking, “Well, this looks really strange.” And I don’t mind putting in small idiosyncratic things to bring it to life, as long as it doesn’t then become redundant or anything, because it’s completely their thing. And Wes comes in with a set of notes, and he just wants to talk to the actors. He’s not a writer who writes to a script that has all the words. He just talks to the actors and he lets them do it.

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