Director of Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Darjeeling Limited
BiographyWesley Wales Anderson (born May 1, 1969, in Houston, Texas) is an American writer, producer, and director of films and commercials. He attended St. John's School, a private school in Houston, which was later used as a filming location for Rushmore. Anderson then studied philosophy at the University of Texas, where he met future collaborator Owen Wilson.
Anderson cites his influences as including in particular French New Wave directors such as Fran�ois Truffaut and Louis Malle, with whom his films share vivid characterization and a tragicomic sensibility: Anderson's works are considered comedies, though many critics find that they appeal to a particular, acquired sense of humor.
Common among all of Anderson's films is the absence of major villains: his characters may be misguided and might cause others pain, but are always without malice. The lack of traditional antagonists prompts Anderson's characters to interact with each other in a more intimate fashion, locating their problems within themselves and their beloved friends or family rather than in enemies to be defeated.
Anderson's more recent films, notably The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), have a pageant-like feel. The camera remains stationary in many instances in order to bring greater focus upon the settings, which are often vibrantly-colored and detailed. Anderson increasingly incorporates elements of theater into his films, such as the plays and scene cues in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums or the elaborate sets of The Life Aquatic. Anderson's pictures are complemented by the work of composer (and Devo singer) Mark Mothersbaugh, who wrote instrumental tracks for Bottle Rocket (1995), Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic. Actor and musician Seu Jorge also contributed to the soundtrack for The Life Aquatic with live acoustic renditions of David Bowie songs in Portuguese.
In part because Anderson's movies focus on interpersonal struggles and lack traditional antagonists, they tend to feature the themes of grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. No one�not even a washout like Herman Blume or Steve Zissou (Bill Murray in Rushmore and The Life Aquatic respectively) nor a deceitful schmuck like Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums)�is beyond redemption. Anderson's characters are separated by a variety of barriers, but the barriers are gradually overcome as individuals recognize the flaws and true desires in themselves and others. Typically, an Anderson film ends with several different narrative threads being resolved, relationships being restored, and things both trivial and significant being brought back to their rightful places.