OUR PRAYERS ANSWERED: Philly Opening Of The New Wes Anderson Movie Moved Up To June 8th


Director Wes Anderson has many credits to his name — The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox among them — but Moonrise Kingdom is his first film to open the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Starring Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton, the quirky independent picture tells the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who fall in love and then make a pact to run off into the woods together. Anderson tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross that the movie, set on a remote (and fictional) island off the coast of New England, is what he calls “a memory of a fantasy.” “I remember the emotion of feeling like I was falling in love at that age, and how powerful it was and sudden and inexplicable,” he says. “And nothing happened in my case, but I think it’s a fantasy I would have had at that age — would have envisioned. … These two characters are hit by a thunderbolt and determined to act on it.” Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis star in the film — the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who merge their imaginative worlds on an island off the coast of New England. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, who play the preteens Suzy and Sam, were cast after an extensive search, says Anderson. “My experience with casting children is that … the whole movie is going to rest on their shoulders, so you have to set aside time and wait for the perfect people to appear,” he says. “After we saw [Kara and Jared], we shut down the search, and they’re the ones who are in the movie. And they define the characters more than the script does, I think.” In the script, Sam and Suzy are separated by distance — Suzy is at home in her beach house, and Sam is away at scout camp — so they must traverse the woods to eventually find each other. Anderson himself was a scout for a short time as a child. He drew on those experiences while crafting the plot of Moonrise Kingdom, which stars Willis as a sheriff, Frances McDormand and Murray as absent-minded parents, and Norton as a hapless scoutmaster in charge of finding his missing camper. “Edward Norton was someone who I corresponded with over the years, and he was somebody who I thought of as a scoutmaster,” says Anderson. “He looks like he has been painted by Norman Rockwell.” Anderson says he drew on Rockwell, as well as his other films, while designing how Moonrise Kingdom would look. “I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets,” he says. “There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do. It’s sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I’ve made the decision: I’m going to write in my own handwriting. That’s just sort of my way.” MORE