Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. On Saturday, at the British Academy Awards, you described
Wes Anderson as a genius. That clearly is one of the main reasons
why you were happy to work with him but another, I suspect, is
that you enjoyed the life on the ocean wave?
A. I do like the ocean wave. I was born under the sign
of Cancer the crab, so I like coastal areas and sunny beaches
and such. Although not the wide open and deep sea, which often
Bill Murray and Wes found themselves upon in mid-January. But
I love working with Wes because he's very intelligent and also
I think his movies have, he's an author, and I really like his
sensibility, and I think they're really smart. I think they're
really beautiful and the whole package appeals to me.
Q. And I'd imagine it's also very flattering when you
know that a role has been written specifically with you in mind?
A. Yes, that is flattering. Particularly after the first
time we worked, because people were talking on the set about Wes'
next project, which was to be on the open seas which sounded delightful
when you were in a small, cramped house in Harlem. So I had a
kind of hankering to be wanted for that movie, but I didn't say
anything, and then Bill Murray and I had a scene in the movie
where we were trying to get into Gwyneth Paltrow's bathroom, and
we kind of came up from the keyhole and Wes went, 'mmm, I have
Wes: I did, I said something right there on that
Angelica: Yeah you did. And happily that turned
into The Life Aquatic for me.
Q. Bill Murray seems able to get a laugh even when doing
very little. Did you get a chance to observe any kind of method
behind his particular brand of comedy?
A. Well I think, yes, there's method in the man and working
with Bill is a bit like being on a high diving board and not knowing
quite how deep the water is that you're jumping into. So there
are moments with Bill where your trailer door will fly open at
7am and he'll come in with an arm-load of flowers and start your
coffee maker and you'll feel like he really truly loves you and
then there'll be another day where he invites the entire cast
and crew to dinner but not you! And you'll wonder if this has
anything to do with, I don't know, halitosis. And so it's a little
bit hard to negotiate sometimes that idea, because I think most
actors like to be liked.
But the thing about Bill I think is because his particular brand
of intelligence requires a certain comeback, so sometimes when
I felt myself getting a bit trepidatious around him, I think he
can kind of run over you like a steamroller; I think he likes
you to come back at him and I felt that on the days where I did
kind of come back at him he kind of liked me better than the other
days. But that was also hard, because those were generally the
days when Steve [Zissou] and Eleanor were getting on, so I find
him something of a man of mystery, but I find him also extremely
charming and really smart.
Q. Are you a fan of Jacques Cousteau, as I believe the
film is dedicated to him?
A. Yeah, I kind of grew up on those documentaries and
one particularly trenchant memory was the one about the baby walrus
that cried. I always wound up crying on those things, so I can't
say that they were not bittersweet. But I think there's something
of that in Wes' movie too, this bittersweetness of those adventures.
And I like creatures of all types, so yes.
Q. You come from a line of
geniuses in acting and directing, but I read somewhere that you
were thinking about getting your own documentary together on your
family, is that so?
A. Well strangely enough they're starting off a film
festival in Puerto Vallarta, which was my father's last home,
he lived there for the last 15 years of his life. And I received
a phone call, I went down there for this film festival which is
in its second year and they've put up something called the John
Huston Maverick Award, and it seemed that when he was living there
and writing his autobiography he spoke for about four years with
a friend of his, who was a poker player, and ex-spook CIA guy
called Bill Reid, and so I received a call on my way to the airport
from Bill Reid, who I hadn't seen in as many years, to tell me
that he wanted me to stop by his apartment on the way out of town.
He had something to give me.
Well I stopped by and he gave me a box of tapes of my father,
I think 120 hours of tapes, four years worth of dialogue tapes
about his personal life, his films, his children, the whole deal.
I've yet to listen to these but I think probably it would be a
really nice project to start on; I know it's Bill's wish that
I go to work on a documentary or something of that sort, but I
would love to see a really nice examination of my father's work
with narration by him about all the films. I think that's something
that would be worth one's time.
Q. I imagine that would be a fairly unique experience
for you in terms of the emotion involved and hearing your father's
A. Yeah, it's hard even now for me to watch him in documentaries,
or to hear his voice or see his face. So I think it may be painful,
it may be cathartic, I'm not quite sure, but it's something that
I'm going to have to see where it goes.
Q. And how about your grandfather singing September Song?
A. I learned about my grandfather only through film because
he died a year before my brother was born, and two years before
I was born. Growing up, really the only films that I saw were
my father's films on a projector in our house where I grew up
in Ireland in the country, in the west of the country. And for
years I thought my grandfather was that guy in Treasure of the
Sierra Madre, I thought he was a little old prospector, and when
I got to New York, I think I was about 18-years-old, I turned
on the television one night and saw his movie Dodsworth and then
I realised like that.
I think, actually, I had seen The Devil and Daniel Webster too
but that's really when I got the full size of my grandfather,
so I know about him through film.
Q. How was filming in Rome during the winter wearing
A. Everything was fine when we first began the movie
but then it got progressively colder and finally there was a scene
where I had to wave to the guys on The Zodiac after they leave
the island and it was too cold, I didn't know what to do. So I
called Milena Canonero, the brilliant Milena into my trailer,
and said 'we can't do this in these clothes' because it was ice
cold, bitter, and she said 'I don't know, Wes wants this shot',
so I said 'get me a wet-suit'. And she said 'Wes does not want
you to wear a wet-suit', but I came back with 'I'm wearing a wet-suit,
I don't care'. So she went and got a wet-suit and I got into that
thing, which is the only reason why that shot exists. Otherwise
it was just like 'no'.
Wes: And that was your last shot of the movie.
The wet-suit was a very good look for you in the end.
Angelica: I'm glad you think so now.