By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 8, 2011 at 2:04AM
"Moonrise Kingdom," Wes Anderson's first live-action film in five years, is now firmly underway: it's a month into filming, and only yesterday, images of stars Edward Norton and Bill Murray on set leaked out. And it's fair to say that we're as excited about this as any Anderson film in years: the script, from the director and Roman Coppola, is recognizably Anderson-esque, but also takes off in a new direction, and, while the cast includes a number of his usual rep company -- Murray, Jason Schwartzman, possibly Owen Wilson -- there's also an exciting selection of new actors joining them, including Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and, as confirmed yesterday, Harvey Keitel.
And there's now one more to add to this list. We'd noticed veteran actor/writer Bob Balaban listed on the film's IMDB page, and we've confirmed with sources close to the production that Balaban is indeed on board the film. Balaban's career goes back decades, with roles in "Midnight Cowboy," "Catch-22," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Altered States" and a number of films with both Christopher Guest and Woody Allen. He's perhaps best known in recent years for producing Robert Altman's "Gosford Park," and for recent appearances in "Howl" and "Recount."
The urbane Balaban is a good fit for Anderson's world, so much so that we're surprised that he hasn't cropped up in one of the director's films before. There's currently no news on what role Balaban will take, although the film, a period coming-of-age tale set in 1960s New England, about two teenagers who fall in love and run away, turning their town upside down, has plenty of plum roles in it. Focus Features will release the film next year.