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Film Studies 101
Feature
The Greatest Wes Anderson Characters
We profile the eccentric population of the most stylish films around

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12. ABE HENRY

James Caan - Bottle Rocket

Film: Bottle Rocket (1996)
Played by: James Caan

Wes Anderson’s heist caper Bottle Rocket may have been one of the worst test screenings in the history of Columbia Pictures, critically divisive and a box-office calamity, but it still had many things going for it. For one thing, Martin Scorsese loved it; for another, it had James “CAAAAAAAAAAAN!” Caan in it. The acting titan returned to his Godfather/Thief roots to play a foul-mouthed landscaper with a sideline in criminal scheming and a side-sideline in father-figuring Dignan (Owen Wilson). He wins extra marks for putting the beat down on the odious Future Man. “I didn’t mean to offend you, Bob,” he tells Bob Mapplethorpe, “but your brother’s a cocksucker. Does that offend you?” Feel the wrath of Caan.


11. M. GUSTAVE

Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Played by: Ralph Fiennes

The latest leading man in Anderson's company is someone not known for comedy but, on the strength of this effort, someone who should quit the drama stuff and devote himself to laughs forthwith. Ralph Fiennes throws himself into the role of an endlessly competent, casually seductive and unashamedly camp hotel concierge just at the moment that his species came under threat from a changing world and, more particularly, the jealous attention of a rival heir to an old lady's property. His quasi-paternal relationship with Tony Revolori's Zero is oddly touching, and his ability to fit in to any surroundings, whether he's seducing elderly clients or befriending hardened criminals, is marvellous. He even manages to make prison duds look dashing, which is something that A Prophet singularly failed to accomplish.


10. KLAUS DAIMLER

Willem Dafoe - The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Film: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)
Played by: Willem Dafoe

Loveable and mulishly loyal to his boss, German sidekick Klaus Daimler somehow takes most of Zissou’s seaborne caprices in his stride. The son. The pirates. The monomanic quest for the Leopard shark that chewed up his friend and left him adrift in bloodied water. In fact, the only time a note of panic enters his voice is when he finds himself relegated to ‘B’ squad by Zissou. “You might be on ‘B’ squad,” the utterly deranged mariner tells him, “but you're the ‘B’ squad leader.” Cheery to the last, Klaus seems happy with that.


9. DUDLEY HEINSBERGEN

Dudley, The Royal Tenenbaums

Film: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Played by: Stephen Lea Sheppard

Dudley suffers from a rare condition, previously unknown to science, that “combines symptoms of amnesia, dyslexia, and color-blindness, with a highly acute sense of hearing.” While this is unfortunate for the poor boy, it makes him a fascinating contrast to the highly self-involved Tenenbaums and means that there is always someone nearby to offer commentary on the things that really matter (“That cab has a dent in it.”). As a bonus, he makes a terrific double act with Bill Murray’s Raleigh St. Clair. Someone give these two a sitcom.

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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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