If you watch a lot of Wes Anderson movies, you’ll know that one thing Little Lord Fauntleroy absolutely loves, in addition to esoteric jargon, checklists, tracking shots, uniforms, the mentor/protege relationship, and precocious faux-naive relationships between pre-teens, is old-timey drawings and letters. I always just assumed this was an aesthetic inclination related to his penchant for Earth tones and whimsy, but based on this just-revealed note written by Anderson himself, it seems it goes much deeper than that.
Dated January 1999 (courtesy of Mike Le and Cinephilia and Beyond), it’s a note from Wes Anderson to Simpsons writer and TV super producer James L. Brooks, to thank Brooks for writing the foreword to the published version of the Rushmore screenplay. Brooks, as Dangerous Minds notes, was also responsible for giving Anderson $5 million to finish the feature version of Bottle Rocket after seeing the short version. (Impressive talent scouting, because while I loved Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums, I found Bottle Rocket to be thoroughly unremarkable).
That it looks so much like a letter that would show up center framed in a Wes Anderson film, perhaps as a note from a troubled outcast explaining to his troupe of junior forest rangers why he was leaving to retrace the steps from Blackbeard’s treasure map with a smoky-eyed girl he liked, makes you wonder if Wes Anderson’s aesthetic choices are a trademark, or a sickness. How long do you think he spent making sure that his block letters alternated up and down just so like that? If Wes Anderson hadn’t gone into filmmaking, I’m convinced he’d make his living traveling from state fair to state fair, hawking ornately carved squirrel figurines. The man pisses kitsch.