We know him well for his meticulous attention to detail and composition and the color pink. Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom opens this week and it looks to be no exception. Chock full of the visual flair and acerbic writing we’ve come to expect. And, of course, it also features crazy characters. A Wes Anderson film wouldn’t be a Wes Anderson film without wacky casting. Here’s a look at the strangest and best characters who’ve helped weave his films.
The famous neurologist Raleigh St. Clair is renowned for his research but isn’t so astute when it comes to observing his own relationship. After suspecting that his wife no longer cares for him, he hires a private investigator to follow her. It’s revealed that she’s having an affair with a childhood friend and also smoking. Raleigh is more dismayed by the smoking.
Voiced by Willem Dafoe, Rat works as a guard to the evil farmer Bean’s cider room. The switchblade-wielding psycho gets a sick thrill out of defeating Mr. Fox whenever the opportunity presents itself. Do you know how hard it is to train a rat to stay in one place let alone use a switchblade? VERY, I’d assume.
Seriously. Who is this kid? He gets more facetime in this movie than Bill Murray. Hardest working extra in show business.
Raleigh St. Clair’s young research subject Dudley suffers from a rare disorder combining symptoms of amnesia, dyslexia, and color-blindness, with a highly acute sense of hearing. The results are both interesting and bizarre.
Not only does he keep the grounds of Rushmore prep school well-maintained and sufficiently raked, but he often goes above and beyond by repairing damages caused to the campus by cut brakelines and students getting their hands on dynamite. He’s also a lover of the arts as evidenced by his critique of Max Fisher’s Vietnam saga Heaven and Hell.
Anjelica Huston does wonderful work in Wes Anderson’s films but it’s her work as Eleanor Zissou — the ex-wife and benefactor to ocean adventurer Steve — that stands out as my favorite. Her brash, strong nature make her by far the toughest character in Wes Anderson’s universe. This is how the woman breaks bad news: “Your cat’s dead… a rattlesnake bit it in the throat.”
She’s even tougher than Future Man.
Though their friendship had some bumps (Max trying to get a handjob from Dirk’s mom), Max Fisher found a true friend in Dirk Calloway. Who else would valiantly confront Herman Blume with the assertion, “Oh yeah and with friends like you who needs friends?” Say a prayer for Surf Boy. Wherever he is.
Dignan was the character who started it all. The excitable, heist-hungry man-boy who guided his friends into treacherous waters. He also served as the world’s first introduction to Owen Wilson. So it’s safe to say that without this role, it’s likely the world would never have the pleasure of knowing Dupree, wedding crashing, or that guy who got eaten by Anaconda.
The eccentric caricature of Jacques Cousteau has to deal with a lot. Not only is he on a blood mission against the Jaguar Shark that ate his partner, he’s also forced to deal with his own sh*t when he meets a woman who doesn’t return his affections, opting to be with his illegitimate son instead. This and an unpaid intern uprising force Steve to realize that his youth is over and life is fleeting. Perhaps he shouldn’t spend the remainder of his on a vengeance quest.
Anderson’s most flawed and arrogant character. And by extension the best. Whether he’s faking stomach cancer to get in good with his estranged family, or giving the grandfatherly advice, “I’m not talking about dance lesson. I’m talking about putting a brick through the other guy’s windshield. I’m talking about taking it out and chopping it up.”
I wish my granddad gave me that kind of advice. I would kill to have material like that.