The film was very well received when it opened the Cannes Film Festival last week (including our A-grade review), and we caught up with Anderson at the fest to talk about the new film, which stars Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, and newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Mild spoilers may be ahead, just to warn you, but as the film goes on release this Friday, May 25th, you don't have long to wait.
Let's start off the with the music which seems integral here. What does Benjamin Britten's music evoke for you? How did you find that program conducted by Bernstein?
I'm not sure when I did find that "Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra." I feel like my older brother had it when we were kids, I know we had "Peter and the Wolf" and I feel like we had a "Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra" as well. We were in a production of "Noah's Flood," when I was ten and he was eleven. That Leonard Bernstein version of that with the kid talking really evokes that period for me, and I like that Britten and also Leonard Bernstein were so interested in sharing classical music with children and making a point of it.
Are you an opera buff at all?
Not really, I'm certainly not knowledgeable but I like to go. It's always a kind of amazing experience to go to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, but in Paris [where Anderson now lives], it's the Palais Garnier. It's an amazing place to go see or listen to something.
Well that could be. I like that it's like the characters are instruments in an orchestra.
Do you consider your role as a director to be more similar to a conductor or a composer?
I think you probably shift into conducting when you finish the script. You're doing a little composing on your way too. It depends on which part of the metaphor we're doing, because there's a degree to which the script can be the score, and then the production of the movie is the performance, but there's probably another way in which the score is being made all the way through the editing, and the performance is really just you flipping a switch. So there's composing in all of these different stages of a movie but I think the feeling of it is more like conducting when you're shooting it.