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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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4. CLIVE BADGER

Badger, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Voiced by: Bill Murray

A rare combination of nocturnal mammal, lawyer and explosives expert, Clive Badger Esq. (Bill Murray) is the quiet voice of reason Mr. Fox never quite hears in Wes Anderson’s stop-motion tale. He tells Fox not to buy a new property within reach of Boggis, Bunce and Bean’s farms, but does he listen? The cuss he does. “You're borrowing at nine and a half,” Badger patiently explains, “plus moving into the most dangerous neighborhood in the world for your type of species”. For his intimate knowledge of local real estate and general usefulness in a crisis – what law school even has a TNT module? – Badger makes the cut.


3. MAX FISCHER

Ben Stiller - The Royal Tenenbaums

Film: Rushmore (1998)
Played by: Jason Schwartzman

Leaving Bottle Rocket aside – and it’s fairly easily done – Max Fischer is where it all got going for Wes Anderson. The distinctive tone, soufflé-light erudition, quirk quotient and general silliness: they all started with a 16 year-old who dared to dream big and had only his wits and a wealthy industrialist to fall back on. It’s also the first of five Jason Schwartzman collaborations (seven, if you include Hotel Chevalier and Castello Cavalcanti), and J-Schwartz is at his very best as the odd but somehow loveable loner with the huge sense of entitlement and the unquenchable thirst for the finer things in life.


2. HERMAN BLUME

Bill Murray, Bottle Rocket

Film: Rushmore (1998)
Played by: Bill Murray

Stricken with Olympian levels of ennui, industrialist Herman Blume gives the distinct impression that it’s only his protégé Max Fischer’s (Jason Schwartzman) grandiose antics and Rushmore teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) keeping him from slipping into a coma and possibly dying. Bill Murray imbues the soon-to-be-divorced Vietnam veteran millionaire with more than enough of his deadpan charm for us to overlook the fact that Bloom is just another jaded patrician with more money than sense. Working to scale – Anderson estimates was paid $9000 for the part – Murray reversed that equation and set in train an eight (so far)-strong Wes Anderson collaboration.


1. ROYAL TENENBAUM

Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums

Film: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Played by: Gene Hackman

Our favourite Anderson character comes not from one of his regular collaborators but a man who almost didn’t take the job. “He was the only guy I wanted for it and it was particularly written for him,” said Anderson of Hackman recently, but the star was reluctant, saying yes only at the last minute. Still, despite those teething troubles, Tenenbaum is an indelible character; a proud patriarch who is estranged from his family; a selfish con-man and chancer who helps his children recover their mojo almost despite himself. Grandiose, nattily dressed and more than a little ridiculous, he is the quintessential Anderson figure.

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Have Your Say
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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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