The Fantastic Monsieurs Anderson and Desplechin

Oct 29, 2009

For the new issue of Interview magazine, Wes Anderson sat down in Paris with another of our favorite contemporary auteurs, Arnaud Desplechin, who interviewed him in anticipation of the November release of Anderson’s animated Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox. As you can imagine, these movie-mad men—of the funny-sad family dramas The Royal Tenenbaums and A Christmas Tale, respectivelyhad a lot to gab about, from Paris weather versus Texas to their different takes on reading Proust. Of course, their most energetic discussion had to do with their favorite directors. Here’s a short exchange in which Anderson describes how Scorsese and Bogdanovich opened his eyes to a world of classic filmmakers.

DESPLECHIN: You’ve seen a lot of movies. I wonder if you learned to watch a lot of films from someone like Martin Scorsese. One could say that there are two kinds of directors: those who love to see films and those who actually don’t see that many.

ANDERSON: If you are going to pick directors that make you feel like you should watch old films, I think that would be Martin Scorsese and Peter Bogdanovich. There are so many films I was introduced to by them in one way or another. For example, on the laserdisc commentary of Raging Bull [1980], Scorsese mentions something about Michael Powell, and I had never heard of the Powell and Pressburger films before. From Bogdanovich, I think I first learned about Howard Hawks and Leo McCarey. Bogdanovich saw everything. He had this metal file cabinet with drawers filled with notes. Every time he saw a movie, he typed up a little card that would list the title, director, writer, description, the date he saw the movie, and what he thought. He’d give it a rating. Then if he saw it again, he’d take the card and add a note: “I saw it again, and actually I thought it was a little better this time.”

DESPLECHIN: Do you do that?


DESPLECHIN: I think it’s a critic thing.