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"There's Freedom In Bondage": 12 Things Learned At Cannes About 'Moonrise Kingdom' & Wes Anderson's Hyper-Controlled Style

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist May 24, 2012 at 3:21PM

Having received some of his best reviews in years, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" made a grand debut opening the Cannes Film Festival in style last week. By all accounts (including one very positive review of our own), Anderson's latest picture and first live-action film in five years, is a pleasant, charming and enchanting return to form that's both nostalgic for those early pre-teen years and emotional in its exploration of adolescent angst and early love. Starring newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward with an excellent supporting cast featuring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman, Playlist contributor Aaron Hillis got a chance to sit down with some of the cast at the press conference in Cannes.
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Moonrise Kingdom, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward
9. Ed Norton says you just don't really improvise in a Wes Anderson film, but there were a few moments of improv that Anderson himself spurned on.
"I have great respect for Wes' specificity of language and script and dialogue because he's a craftsman and he cares about words," he said. "I have no impulse to casually monkey with Wes' dialog as scripted." Though Norton did describe his favorite improvisation in the movie when one of the scouts asks Norton's character, "What’s your real job?" and he responds "I'm an 8th grade math teacher."

"We did a couple of takes and then Wes said 'Actually I want you to talk back in and then say you know...'I want to change my answer, this is my real job,' " Norton recalled. "He came up with that in the moment I think, that wasn't in the script."

10. Before the ASPCA can get ahold of him, Anderson was once again asked about his prediliction to injury or harm dogs in his films.
"Well I've killed dogs before in my work and it never goes over that lightly," Anderson chuckled. "In ['The Royal Tenenbaums'] we had a car run over [the dog] but you just saw the leash." Anderson said the unfortunate accident involving a dog in "Moonrise Kingdom" was a more "graphic depiction" however, he did not "intend it as a confrontation." Ed Norton reminded the journalists that while killing an animal is considered a film rule you shouldn't break, there is a film they might remember called, "Old Yeller."

Moonrise Kingdom Bruce Willis Frances McDormand
11. A modest Roman Coppola says he was a simply a conduit and fan of Anderson's who helped coax the script out of the director. It was also known as "The Island" project before it coalesced into "Moonrise Kingdom."
Coppola said a kernal of the idea had surfaced around the time they were making "The Darjeeling Limited' together, noting that the film was "known as 'The Island' project." Coppola said that he would check in on Anderson from time to time and ask how the project was coming along. Anderson was stuck. "I had spent a year and had gotten to page 15," he said. The Coppola's curiosity helped spurn the screenplay on. "I'd read the first section of the scout master award and after a while, a few weeks later I said, 'What’s next?' " Coppola recalled. "There were a couple of disappointing check-ins where there wasn't much progress. So we got together and I started to be demanding of where we stood and it was in those sessions of chatting and asking and trying to learn more about the movie that we ended up getting on a roll." 

Coppola describes himself of more of a guide, then a co-writer, but as a friend and fan of Anderson's work, he was fine with that role. "Some of the questions I asked provoked some good answers that made us realize we had a good rapport to kind of help draw it out," he said. "Wes as the director pretty much was the artist who conceived this thing and I was a person there just eager to hear the story and help to draw it out."

12. As homework preparation, Anderson had the young star of the film, Jared Gilman, watch a very unlikely film for inspiration and cues.
"Wes had me watch Clint Eastwood's 'Escape From Alcatraz,' " Gilman chuckled. "Kind of to show me some similiarities between Clint Eastwood's character and mine, in the sense that they're very resourceful and capable, so I got to see that through that movie, how to 'be' in a way."

"Moonrise Kingdom" opens in N.Y. and L.A. on May 25th and in additional cities throughout June. Additional theater information can be found on the official site.

This article is related to: Moonrise Kingdom, Edward Norton, Wes Anderson, Bob Balaban, Roman Polanski, Cannes Film Festival


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