Preview by: Jack Foley
HAVING wowed cinema-goers with films such as Rushmore and The
Royal Tenenbaums, it's little wonder that the buzz is building
around Wes Anderson's next film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
However, it's worth noting from the outset that the forthcoming
venture marks something of a departure for Anderson, in that it's
the first time the writer-director has not co-written the script
with his writing partner, Owen Wilson.
Instead, Noah Baumbach stepped in, even though the film, itself,
co-stars Wilson, as well as another long-time collaborator, Bill
Murray (who shone in Rushmore and contributed a telling cameo
to the Tenenbaums).
It also gifts Murray his first leading role for Anderson, which
in itself should be plenty of reason to see it when it surfaces
The project centres around the eponymous Steve Zissou (Murray),
a Jacques Cousteau-style oceanographer, who is struggling to finish
his latest epic, The Life Aquatic, while also struggling to cope
with the antics of his estranged son (Wilson).
Lending support at various points
is another stellar ensemble cast, including Angelica Huston, as
his unsatisfied wife; Jeff Goldlbum, as a rival oceanographer;
Willem Dafoe, as a loyal crew-mate; and Cate Blanchett, as a reporter
profiling the work of Zissou.
It all makes for mouthwatering stuff, particularly as the project
is described as the most ambitious project for Anderson yet.
Producer, Barry Mendel, claims that the director's style has
evolved into something 'increasingly controlled and precise',
even though he attempted to forget everything he had learned about
the film-making process so far, and be more instinctice.
It's also been described - and this is the best bit - as 'the
Bill Murray movie they have been waiting for'.
Adds Mendel, in an interview with Empire magazine: "Bill
is incredibly sympathetic in this film, but we test that because
some of his behaviour is questionable."
Having been over-looked for his superlative turn in Lost
in Translation at the 2004
Oscars, who would bet against The Life Aquatic offering Murray
another shot at the trophy in 2005.
The film is scheduled for a February 18 release in the UK.