BY JONATHAN VALANIA Well, this turned out to be kind of a bust. The publicists decided to move up the press conference from 3:30 to 3 PM, with just 15 minutes notice. What, do they think us podunks in Philly have nothing better do all day than interview Wes Anderson? Okay, even if that is technically true, it’s still unprofessional and inconsiderate. So I am standing in the hall way outside suite 561 of the Four Seasons, where the press conference is well underway. Through the door, I can hear the soft muffled huzzah of Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman giving good quote — quote I am missing because the publicist is not letting anyone in until she messages the PR people inside that more invited journalists have shown up and are waiting to be escorted into the press conference. I pace anxiously, biting at the bit to jump through last flaming hoop that will get Phawker — and by extension you, dear reader — a personal audience with indie cinema’s reigning Pope of Cool. Each passing second feels like eons. I grow irritable and demanding. “C’mon, this isn’t Holy Communion! I was invited to this press conference, just let me in!” That, of course, went over like a fart in church — but I sure felt better. After a brief glaring contest and trading of eye-daggers, the door to suite 561 opens and we are granted entrance. There seated at a conference table is Wes Anderson, flanked by Waris Ahluwalia on his left, and Jason Schwartzman on his right, and Roman Coppola to Schwartzman’s right. The invited media are seated across from them like a Thanksgiving dinner. Sitting at the head of the table is Joey Sweeney, who gives me a look that says ‘I would kill you with my bare hands, if Wes Anderson wasn’t here right now.’ I give him the look that says, ‘If Wes Anderson wasn’t here I would be yelling ‘Bring It On!'” I’m pretty sure he got the message. Anyway, I snap some pix while the assembled journos lob softballs like, ‘It must have been fun to ride that train!’ and ‘If you could work with anyone, who would it be?’ none of which elicit a notable response. Anderson does mention that his next film will be an animated feature starring George Clooney, slated for release in 2008. And then I jump into the ring…

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PHAWKER: Wes, your last coupla films seem to feature these characters that were full of promise in their youth — or child prodigies, even — but by time we we meet them later in their lives, for one reason or another they have never fulfilled that potential. Usually something terrible has happened that has traumatized them or thrown their lives off track and by the time we meet them at thirtysomething they are just these smoking wrecks. We spend the movie discovering what that was and watching them try and unpack all that baggage. It’s almost like the message is ‘Bad thing happen to people who grow up.’

WES ANDERSON: I like that! ‘Smoking wrecks,’ I like that…

PUBLICIST: Ok, thanks for coming, that’s all the time we have…


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