Moonrise Kingdom
Credit: Focus Features
  • Movie

There’s no other way to put it: Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, is extremely Wes Anderson-y: quirky, warm-hearted, and visually stunning. Starring newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, the movie is about a couple of pre-teen runaways who are pursued by a scout master (Edward Norton), a local police officer (Bruce Willis), and the girl’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). We recently talked to Anderson and Norton about the film.

What’s it about?

“It’s a romance between a 12-year-old boy and girl set in 1965 on an island off the coast of new England,” says Anderson. “The inspiration was my memory of what it’s like to fall in love when you’re that age (or at least what you think is love at the time), and how overwhelming it is. It just sort of blindsides you. When you read a book when you’re that age you can get so invested in that that the book can become your whole world. That relates to the movie also. The movie is partly about how children at that age have this overpowering need for fantasy.”

What inspired it?

“There’s two movies that I really love that were both kind of huge inspirations for Moonrise Kingdom,” says Anderson. “One is a movie called Black Jack that’s directed by Ken Loach. The other one is another British movie that’s the first thing Alan Parker ever did. He wrote the script. It’s called Melody. They’re both movies that I only found as I worked on this story. I was looking for movies that are about pre-teenage romance. And there’s a Truffaut movie Small Change. That’s really one of the inspirations for this movie, because it’s what made me start thinking about doing this sort of story.”

What’s it like making a Wes Anderson movie?

Actually, my character in the film is not dissimilar from the way Wes directs a film,” says Norton, who plays an earnest, let’s-do-it! optimist of a troop leader. “[My character] doesn’t have a shred of cynicism about him. He’s a real believer. It was probably the easiest gig I ever had, because all I had to do was turn to Wes and say, ‘How would you say this line?’ Then I would just imitate it. He’s a great person to work for and with. He’s really a lot of fun.”

For more on Moonrise Kingdom, check out our Summer Movie Preview, on newsstands April 13.

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Moonrise Kingdom

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 100 minutes
  • Wes Anderson