Wes Anderson is the son of Melver, an advertising and PR executive, and Texas Anne Anderson, an archaeologist turned real estate agent. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an event he described as "the most crucial event of my brothers and my growing up." During childhood, Anderson also began writing plays and making Super 8 movies. He was educated at Westchester High School and then St. John's, a private prep school in Houston, Texas, which was later to prove an inspiration for the film Rushmore (1998).
Anderson attended the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in philosophy. It was here he met Owen Wilson. They became firm friends and began making short films, some of which aired on a local cable-access station. One of their shorts was Bottle Rocket (1994), which starred Owen and his brother Luke Wilson. The short was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was successfully received, so much so that they received funding to make a feature-length version. Bottle Rocket (1996) was not a commercial hit, but gained a cult audience and high-profile fans, including Martin Scorsese.
Success followed with films such as Rushmore (1998), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and the animated feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), the latter two films earning Anderson Oscar nominations.
Makes obsessive and comedic use of "rostrum camera" insert shots, foregrounding the minutiae of books and other documents.
Has ended all his movies with a slow-motion shot, with the exception of The Darjeeling Limited (2007).
Likes to shoot with extremely wide-angle anamorphic lenses that exhibit considerable barrel distortion.
Frequently uses a take/double take technique where he will show a character/action, quickly pan to another character/action, then pan back, usually with handheld camera.
Movies often focus around a broken or unorthodox family circle
At least one of his characters is usually a grown man seeking the approval of a parent or parent figure.
Often includes songs by The Rolling Stones on the soundtracks of his films
The titlecards are always in the font: Futura Bold, most commonly in yellow color.
A character giving a complex, lengthy explanation for humor
Unique ways of introducing a large cast of characters
Characters who are heavy on body language
Quirky themes of white middle-class and upper-class issues
Shots of the characters standing still and facing towards the screen with little to no emotion.
Some of the character names in his movies, most notably in Rushmore (1998), were actually the names of his St. John's classmates.
Martin Scorsese is a big fan of his movies, even choosing him as the next Martin Scorsese in an Esquire magazine article.
While shooting The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) the once pasty, bookish Anderson got a tan, grew his hair long, and got into better shape. His frequent star, Anjelica Huston, noted that Wes had "suddenly" become "handsome".
Rosemary's Baby (1968) is his favorite film.
I want to try not to repeat myself. But then I seem to do it continuously in my films. It's not something I make any effort to do. I just want to make films that are personal, but interesting to an audience. I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters. But every decision I make is how to bring those characters forward.
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