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Feature
The Greatest Wes Anderson Characters
We profile the eccentric population of the most stylish films around

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Wes Anderson's films are peopled with oddballs, eccentrics and weirdos galore - and that's even before you get to the badgers and foxes. As his latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, hits cinemas, we have profiled our favourites, from bit-part players to major leading characters. Read on, and leave your own nominations for the ones we passed over in the comments below...

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN, HELEN O'HARA
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20. J. CAVALCANTI

Film: Castello Cavalcanti (2014)
Played by: Jason Schwartzman

This is a brief but lovely turn from Schwartzman in Anderson’s Prada-produced short set in 1955 Italy. Cavalcanti is a racing car driver who crashes in the titular town (because, he claims, his steering wheel is screwed on backwards. Now we're not mechanics but we're not sure that makes sense) and soon twigs that he has pitched up in the village of his forefathers (“You’re my ancestors!” he proclaims). That’s about the entire plot, beyond a quick drink with the guys, but there are lovely Anderson-y touches here as Schwartzman conducts a fevered conversation with both partner and mechanic by phone, and repeatedly blames his accident on anyone but himself ("Plus there's a slow leak in the rear left tire."). We love him for his mastery of Italian, describing his car as, "completamenti finito; totale calamite disastro catastrophica" and his natty yellow racing suit.


19. BOB MAPPLETHORPE

Bob Mattlethorpe - Bottle Rocket

Film: Bottle Rocket (1996)
Played by
: Robert Musgrave (pictured centre)

Dorkishly beholden to his criminal cohorts and regularly tormented by his bullying sibling Future Man, Bob Mapplethorpe is Bottle Rocket’s answer to later Wes Anderson sidekicks Kylie Opossum and Klaus Daimler, only with slicker hair and a fatter cheque book. He supplies Anthony (Luke Wilson) and Dignan (Owen Wilson) with a car, cash and a roof under which to hatch their poorly-thought-through heists, unwittingly volunteering himself as a “potential getaway driver” in the process. He’s a memorable Andersonian creation, one of the first in the canon to reaching for the stars only to fall flat on his face.


18. SOCIAL SERVICES

Tilda Swinton, Moonrise Kingdom

Film: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Played by: Tilda Swinton

Alan Rickman couldn’t do it. Jeremy Irons couldn’t do it. But Tilda Swinton succeeds in reducing Bruce Willis to a quiver when she, identifying herself simply as Social Services and speaking in the third person far more than is acceptable in normal society, pitches up to deal with the crisis posed by the two missing children as a storm approaches. Impeccably dressed in a pillbox hat and rather natty cape, Swinton’s the formidable face of authority as panic sets in among parents and adults in loco parentis.


17. RAT

Rat, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Voiced by: Willem Dafoe

Three Wes Anderson collaborations in and Willem Dafoe is moving steadily down the spectrum of nefariousness. He’s gone from cuddly (Klaus in The Life Aquatic) to terrifying (The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Jopling), with a brief sojourn at “mildly sinister” in Fantastic Mr. Fox. As Rat, he’s a slick operator with better-than-average moves for a long-tailed rodent best known for sniffing rubbish and cooking in Parisian restaurants. His job as Farmer Bean’s trusted off-cider brings him head-to-head with Mr. Fox and sets him on the path to death by electrocution. On the surface, there’s not a lot to admire about this Southern shivster, but the poignancy of his death wins us over at the last. All the poor guy wants is an apple beer to call his own.

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Your Comments

1
Great list, and I'd say that the top three are pretty spot on, but no Pagoda? For shame... More

Posted by thejonner on Sunday March 9, 2014, 18:15

2
Great list, and I'd say that the top three are pretty spot on, but no Pagoda? For shame... More

Posted by thejonner on Sunday March 9, 2014, 18:15

3 Slightly unfair on bottle rocket!
Yeh Dignan was a suprising omission to me too, I really dug bottle rocket, probably the one most rooted in reality but no less whimsical, witty or emotive. The reviewer seems not to feel this way, fair enough, it's a game of opinions! but to say " leaving bottle rocket aside" is "fairly easily done" seems a tad harsh! Thanks for ponting out Castello Cavalcanti mind, not seen this before. More

Posted by iainwilson87 on Sunday March 9, 2014, 11:14

4 Terrible Omission!
Where is one of my favourite Wes creations?! Dignan!!!!!! So hilariously funny. Particularly surprised you chose another character from this film to include in your list. Thanks for great list anyway More

Posted by GocartMozart on Saturday March 8, 2014, 10:53

5 Terrible Omission!
Where is one of my favourite Wes creations?! Dignan!!!!!! So hilariously funny. Particularly surprised you chose another character from this film to include in your list. Thanks for great list anyway More

Posted by GocartMozart on Saturday March 8, 2014, 10:53

6
Max Fisher at number 3? are you out of your mind! He the best character to come out of Wes Anderson weirdly creative head! More

Posted by Darren47 on Friday March 7, 2014, 18:19

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