Bill Murray first started working with Wes Anderson on the filmmaker's second directorial effort, 1998's Rushmore, and they have been inseparable ever since. Their long-time collaboration includes eight features -- including the upcoming Isle of Dogs -- and in that span Murray has had the opportunity to really watch Anderson evolve as a filmmaker. Reflecting on that idea, the actor recently explained what it was like working with back at the start and how it's different now:
Back then, they were kind of pushing [him] around a little bit, you know. It was Disney, and they weren't giving him what he wanted to do. I didn't think they were particularly kind to him. I don't think they've got him, like they understood what they had. And he made two movies in a row with them, and I still didn't think they knew what they had. And finally he ended his relationship with them, and I don't think they ever delivered the goods. I don't think they worked as hard as he did.
Last month I flew out to Berlin, Germany for a special Isle of Dogs press event for the film's world premiere, and it was while participating in roundtable interview with co-star Bob Balaban that Bill Murray took a look back at his earliest days collaborating with Wes Anderson. Recognizing the 20 year history between the two men, I asked Murray how Anderson is a different filmmaker than he was back in 1998, and he told me the story.
In the way that Bill Murray told the story, you could tell that the experience making both Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums resulted in him gaining a lot of respect for Wes Anderson -- which goes a long way in explaining why he's always game to reunite with him on any project that he's doing. Continuing, Murray not only expressed admiration, but also deep appreciation for the fact that Anderson eventually teamed up with Steve Rales -- a producer who has been a part of all of the writer/director's films since 2007's The Darjeeling Limited. Said Murray,
Just to sort of ignore that, bang your way through that, continuing to make his individual movies, not ever doing what they wanted him to... like he would look at their notes and go, 'That's great.' They would try to give him notes and to his credit, any artist's credit, he's like, 'Ehh, that's not going to happen.' So that doesn't happen anymore. He's lucky enough to find Steve Rales, who is the perfect guy... They make these movies happen, and they're really artists. Steve really appreciates art. He's a great art collector, and he really appreciates art. He likes to see art made. He likes to see art made, one way or another, to have some sort of piece of it. So his development is not just that he found a guy with money that wants to do his movies - his development is that his reach is so great.
That reach is plainly evident in Wes Anderson's latest, Isle of Dogs. Stop-motion animated films are incredibly rare nowadays, and yet he found a way to make it just as rich and incredible an experience as all of his other films. As I express in my review, it's so much of what you love about him as a director, and also introduces plenty of new and fresh ideas.