Last week, Wes Anderson and author Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch, The Secret History) engaged in a lengthy conversation about their love of Italian film at the Rome Film Festival. At the end of the chat, Anderson took some questions from the audience, which Filmmaker Magazine then compiled into a piece called 10 Lessons on Filmmaking from Wes Anderson. I challenge you to come up with a pair of sentences more twee than these.
Among the revelations from the Q&A: Anderson’s interested in making a horror film. Apparently Hotel Chevalier is not a horror film, even though it involves several scenes wherein Jason Schwartzman is rude to Natalie Portman.
“I have thought of doing a horror movie,” he said. “Horror is an area where if a filmmaker really wants to use all the tricks, the techniques to affect your emotions…. With the kind of movies I do, you’re supposed to say, ‘Is this part supposed to be funny, or is this part supposed to be sad?’ Well, you say, ‘I don’t know. I’m not sure. This is the way we wanted it.’ When you make a horror or a thriller, you say, ‘You’re supposed to be scared here. You’re supposed to be relieved here. Here we’re explaining something so you know the next part so you’ll be more scared then.’ I like the idea of the requirements and the obligations of working in a genre like that. I’ve done some scenes like that, but I’d like to do a scary movie.”
Faithful viewers of late-night variety shows on NBC will recall that Saturday Night Live has already imagined what a Wes Anderson horror film might look like: Very calm murderers wielding falcons, Owen Wilson using a teepee as a panic room, precocious children using a photograph of Edith Piaf as a weapon.
Aside from his forthcoming tale of handmade horror, Anderson also shared that he’s interested in making a Christmas movie. I think we can all agree that it’s genuinely insane that Wes Anderson has not yet made a Christmas movie, as both Wes Anderson and Christmas share the same corny aesthetic and passion for red jumpsuits.
“The good thing with a Christmas movie,” said Anderson, “if you make a great Christmas song or movie or book, as Dickens showed us, you can make a huge fortune, because they come back every year. As long as you have a piece of the action, then it’s a perennial.”
Perhaps this is the real horror story, dear readers: Not only does Wes Anderson, filmmaker of the people, harbor a deep desire to carefully and methodically terrify his audience — he’s also a shrewd capitalist who’s not above using Jesus’ birth as a strategic financial opportunity.