We caught up with the cast of Moonrise Kingdom at the Cannes Press conference
Moonrise Kingdom is the new movie from Wes Anderson starring Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman & Bruce Willis. Chosen as the Cannes 2012 opening movie, we were present at the Cannes press conference. Check it out below.
What was it like working in such a strong ensemble?
Edward Norton: I relate a lot to the dream of being in a company of actors. I think that all of us who started out reading about Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre Players or the group theatre or any of those great ensembles that work together there is a romance to that when you are an actor. I used to dream a lot about how fun it would be to be in a troupe like that and I think Wes has obviously, over the years, put together one of the great troupes in modern cinema. All actors want to be in it… It’s not just us. I think all actors see Wes’s next poster come out and think ‘Oh god, that would be so fun!’ Then it turns out that it is, which is surprising because you never know how making a movie is going to be. It turns out that it’s kind of like summer camp and I think Wes plays the role that my character plays – the Scout Troupe Leader – marching us through our skills and heading off on an adventure. It was completely delightful… Just a completely delightful experience. It is fun to have some of the trappings that creep up around making movies taken away. Wes had us all doing our own hair and make up and costumes and coming to set in vans together. No trailers and it was kind of everything that you love about it when you are a kid and you have your video camera in your back yard. Great spirit and great fun to be included in Wes’s still-growing company.
Jason Schwartzman: It is always exciting to work with Wes and be on set and there are no trailers and it really does feel like a community; everyone is together and laughing. It is also just fun to watch Wes because he loves it so much and it works so hard. He makes these movies because he has to and he loves it and it is just really exciting to be part of that. The clothes are very tight. My outfit was tight and I don’t get to experience that kind of tightness all the time, so it is wonderful on a lot of levels.
Wes, can you talk about the process of creating the visuals of the film?
WA: Bob Yeoman is really the only director of photography that I have ever worked with – I have done a few little shorts with other people – he taught me how to work with a cameraman in the first place We have worked so closely together that it is hard for me to picture what it would be like not to have him. For this movie, we worked in a different format and we had some very tiny French cameras that you can hold in one hand and you can’t put them on your shoulder, you have to hold them down like a video camera. We had five of those and a lot of the scenes with Jared (Gilman) and Kara (Hayward), especially in the wilderness, we used those cameras and it gave us a sort of freedom that was something new.
Bill, you have created strong partnerships with directors, how has this affected your career?
BM: Well, working with a director a couple of times is a real pleasure; it’s an honour to be asked back. Sometimes when you work with a director you may never see them again, sometimes you hope you will never see them again and that goes for the director as well; they can’t wait for you to leave, they drive you to the airport to make sure you leave town. That happens! With Wes I have never got a ride to the airport and like it. I don’t need a ride to the airport, I can get there. It’s great to come to the job and know that… We are kind of here to serve, that’s what we are here to do and we have sort of proven to each other that we are going to work hard. These are what we call ‘art films’, I don’t know if you know what those are, they are films where you work very very long hours for no money. Fortunately we have saved from other jobs we have worked on, so we can work with Wes over and over again. It’s nice to serve, it’s great to come and say ‘what do you want me to do? How would you like me to do it?’ and if you can bring more than what is there – which is what we all shoot for – then everyone is happy. This is a nice bunch; it’s a goofy bunch. The kids, we are not sure about yet, but they are goofy too.
Wes, are you worried about the reactions to the theme of children finding their sexuality?
WA: I am not worried, that’s part of what the movie is about and part of the reason to make the movie in the first place, I think. It is the kind of story where these characters are feeling something that is beyond them so I wanted to feel that. That’s where the script began for me.
Jared, there is a rumour that Bill and Bruce helped you gave you acting and sartorial tips, is that true?
JG: Bill, you taught me how to tie a tie that day. Bill just happened to be in the room next door and he came to the rescue. I kneeled down and he wrapped his arms around me and taught me how to tie a tie.
BM: …But you are not wearing a tie today, what does that say about what I taught you?
JG: Also, Bill taught me it is a good idea to hum every morning to warm up your voice and I told that to Kara. The first time I met Bruce was just before we filmed our scene in the trailer and we rehearsed and ran lines. That’s a great idea to help with memorisation and preparation.
BM: What was that? You guys memorise that stuff?!
Wes, the film takes place in the mid-1960s and there is a feeling that something is changing and the children are the ones who go on the adventure, was that something that occurred to you?
WA: Their characters are 12 in 1965, so when they are 18 years old, they are going to be in a very different kind of America. That’s kind of the reason to set it then. The island where we shot much of the movie was only accessible by ferry until 1962, when they built a bridge to Newport, Rhode Island when it became a suburb of Newport and filled with houses and shops and changed completely in a way that much of America did. It is a period that, after so much stasis, there was radical change very quickly and it is reflected in the culture. I have to say, that is something I thought about after finishing the script. The truth is, when I was writing, I just wrote the sentence ‘the year in 1965…’ and that was the first I had thought of it, so it was really instinctive. I give more of an excuse than a reason.
Roman, how much of you is in the script?
RC: It is hard to say, my role was really to help Wes pull this out of his mind and imagination. There were a lot of things that I related to and there would be examples of things that I would bring up when we were trying to figure it out, but it has very much sprung from Wes’s imagination with my help as a sort of midwife to guide it out and help it find it’s shape.
WA: The megaphone, in particular…
RC: Yes, Frances McDormand talks to her children through a megaphone…
WA: …Which comes from your own personal experience.
Wes, why did you set the film in 1965, but use the music of Benjamin Britten?
WA: The Britten music had a huge effect on the whole movie. The movie is sort of set to it. The music that Alexandre Desplat made originally for the film is very beautiful and I think it takes some inspiration from Britten as well. It is sort of the colour of the movie in a way.
Wes, children’s fiction seems very bound up in the film, could you talk about that?
WA: At a certain point when writing the script, I had Kara’s character carrying a suitcase and I was asking myself what was in it, and we filled it with all these books. Somewhere along the way I started thinking maybe the movie is one of her books and the movie in the suitcase as well. It kind of took on a fantasy atmosphere, even if the events are not magical. There is one particular set of books by Susan Cooper, the Dark is Rising series… My reaction to those books was that I desperately wanted to believe these powers existed and I kind of feel like the atmosphere of somebody who is caught up in a story like that is like when you fall in love for the first time and you feel like you are underwater. It is like a dream. That’s all part of the story a bit.
Wes, which of the characters can you relate to the most?
WA: I have some connection to all the characters, but the character that Kara plays is the one that… I will say this; there is a moment in the movie where, in answer to a question that he has asked her she shows the pamphlet ‘Coping With the Very Troubled Child’. That is one of the very few things in the movie that is an autobiographical element. I did find the pamphlet on the refrigerator; I was not the only child in the house, but I knew which one was the very troubled child. I think if my brothers had found it they would not have looked to themselves. It is not a great feeling, but it became a funny bit.