A Look at Wes Anderson’s Go-To Actors and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’


Wes Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom , has had us chattering for quite a while. The offbeat coming-of-age tale set in ’60s New England is yet another modern classic from every contemporary indie-film geek’s favorite director and, unsurprisingly, it features some familiar faces from previous Anderson flicks. Like many serious moviemakers, the auteur has certain actors he keeps going back to, so we’re continuing our obsession with a look at Wes Anderson’s go-to performers — some of whom currently join “newcomers” Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, and Ed Norton on the fictional island of New Penzance in theaters across the nation.

Bill Murray

When it comes to a quintessential partnership, you can’t get much better than Anderson and Bill Murray. Out of Anderson’s seven full-length films to date, Murray has appeared in all but one (Anderson’s debut, Bottle Rocket). In Moonrise Kingdom, Murray plays Walt Bishop, the father of one of the runaway kids at the center of the plot. Previously, he has enchanted audiences as everyone from The Life Aquatic’s offbeat captain Steve Zissou to Rushmore’s wealthy but lovestruck Herman Blume. Frankly, at this point, we’d be a bit shocked to see Anderson do another film without Murray at least popping up somewhere.

Jason Schwartzman

With four Anderson films to his name, Jason Schwartzman is another very familiar face in the director’s world. In fact, it was Anderson who gave Schwartzman his big break, casting him as Rushmore’s precocious Max Fischer, despite his previous lack of acting experience. It was all uphill from there, as the actor went on to become an indie celebrity in his own right. In Moonrise Kingdom, he plays Cousin Ben, a relative of one of the runaways, who thinks he can get them off the island. (No, it’s nothing like LOST.)

Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson wasn’t just one of Anderson’s first stars; he also played a huge part in the director’s rise to success, as the two were major collaborators in their early days. In addition to tackling roles in five of Anderson’s films (note: we’ve been been including voice roles in the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox in all of these counts), Wilson also co-wrote his first three movies — Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums. Really, you could say that the careers of these two are inextricably linked.

Anjelica Huston

When it comes to female stars, there’s one woman Anderson keeps going back to — the always amazing Anjelica Huston. With roles in The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, and The Darjeeling Limited, she’s never failed to perfectly capture the Anderson aesthetic. She may be sitting out his latest, but we’d bet on seeing her in many more of Anderson’s films in the future.

Luke Wilson

Obviously, Owen wasn’t the only Wilson to get a boost from Anderson’s ascendance. His brother Luke also launched his extremely successful career with a co-starring role in Bottle Rocket, before going on to star in The Royal Tenenbaums and more major Hollywood movies than we can count. (Okay, we can count them. We’re just not going to do it right now.)

Of course, you never know who Anderson will take a real liking to next. Check out these behind-the-scenes glimpses at Bruce Willis and Ed Norton’s Moonrise Kingdom roles (plus a bonus clip of Wes himself on set), and let us know if you think these actors would make good future additions to this list.