Wes Anderson on Awards Season, Animation and Why He Hasn't Seen Avatar


Did that change you as a director, or at least your general approach to filmmaking?

I think... it was very fun. And because we went on location, even though we didn't have to work as carefully in the recordings as I often end up having to do -- just because of what I want to accomplish -- you still had the feeling of being on location with your cast. One thing that I felt is [how] the process with a movie like this is very out-of-order compared to a normal movie. You record the actors first, and then you edit the movie with drawings, with storyboards. And then you shoot it. And because you're working in that order, you're always looking at a cut of the whole movie. I think on the next live action movie I do, I'll want to do some of that -- particularly with action sequences, or important sequences. I think that pre-visualization type of approach, which I've never used before, might be very helpful to me. But then also, I think there might be something from the way we did these voice recordings. It might be nice to capture that spirit. But it's such a different process. With a live-action movie, you're working your way through consecutive shots during the course of the day. With an animated movie, you're simultaneously working on 30 shots, moving back and forth among them and not really finishing anything during the day. The rhythms are so different. But I'm sure those experiences will interact with each other.

Speaking of your next live-action project, what is going on with The Rosenthaler Suite -- your rewrite of the French comedy My Best Friend? Are you definitely not directing that?

I don't have a plan to direct that. I wasn't hired on to direct it; I was just hired to write. It was something where I thought that, while I was doing Mr. Fox, I'd be able to make this script for Brian Grazer. But in the end I liked a lot of it very much.

There's a debate among awards purists about whether animated performances should be eligible for acting prizes. It's not new, but your film and Avatar have especially stimulated that discussion this year. Where do you stand?

Well, I feel that on any reasonable legal basis I would be forced to recuse myself from that debate. Because at the moment, my first [reaction] is to say, "They should all be nominated!" I would fight for that. But in general, I don't see any reason why not. I don't know if audiences who watch the Academy Awards would particularly say, "We should add categories." I feel like I've experienced very memorable performances from actors in animated films, but I feel like my opinion about what ought to be available for awards is probably not very valid.

As a Futura loyalist, what's your take on Avatar's own loyalty to Papyrus?

I don't know the Papyrus font! Though I do know the Avatar font. I need to study it. I actually haven't seen Avatar yet, but I'm going to L.A., so I'm hoping to go to the Cinerama Dome or The Grove and see it properly. I've been in England lately, but not in London; they show it sometimes and it's not 3-D. Or in France, at the theaters I was near, they had it in French and in 3-D, or in English and 2-D. Anyway, I'm going to see it in California.

Are you interested in making a 3-D film?

Well... with our movie, what sort of drew me to it was the old-fashionedness of the animation. Digital 3-D is the farthest opposite extreme from what I was charmed by. But I have a feeling that when I walk out of Avatar, I may have a whole new feeling about 3-D. Is it really stunning?

Pretty much, though I'd like to see what it looks like in 2-D.

I haven't been to a 3-D movie in a long time. They used to have that IMAX 3-D where you had to wear a weird helmet. But I remember that technology was very effective 3-D, and I'm sure what's happening now is 50 times more powerful. So I'm expecting to be impressed.

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  • Lolana says:

    OK, so I was expecting from the tease to read something a little more interesting about Why Wes Anderson hasn't seen Avatar, than that he's going to see it in LA where he can see it in 3-D.