Not all directors give their cast homework before shooting a movie. But the famously meticulous Wes Anderson gave his cast of The French Dispatch a required viewing list before production began on his upcoming comedy set in 20th century France.
Anderson gave his actors five movies to watch before shooting The French Dispatch, which means he made his most star-studded cast — which includes the likes of Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Benicio Del Toro, Léa Seydoux, and Timothée Chalamet — watch at least 10 hours of movies. And yes, they’re all in French, and they’re all in black-and-white.
The French Dispatch tells three different stories all framed around the staff of an American news outpost in France during the in 20th century, each story told with varying degrees of artsiness and color schemes. The film was heavily inspired by the experimental French New Wave, based on Anderson’s movie choices. Cinematographer Robert Yeoman — in his seventh collaboration with Anderson — said that the cast had to be aware of the inspirations that Anderson was drawing from, revealing the list of films that the director made the stars watch before filming.
In a recent interview with IndieWire, Yeoman revealed the five movies that Anderson made his cast watch before production began.
- Jean Luc-Godard‘s My Life to Live (1962)
- Henri-George Clouzot‘s Quay of the Goldsmiths (1947) and Diabolique (1955)
- Max Ophüls‘ Le Plaisir (1952)
- François Truffaut‘s The 400 Blows (1959)
The watch list is very much the kind you’d expect Anderson to suggest, with all of the films hailing from France and mostly taking place during the French New Wave, the time period that saw a game-changing innovation from French auteurs. Jean Luc-Godard, Henri-George Clouzot, Max Ophuls, and Francois Truffaut are all considered prolific filmmakers who shaped the French New Wave with theit films.
But Yeoman noted that the list wasn’t limited to movies, either. Anderson compiled “an extensive library of DVDs, books, and magazine articles” for the cast to consult before filming even began. It’s quite a lot of work for the actors to take on, but a workload that’s expected for a famously meticulous director like Anderson.
Searchlight Pictures is set to release The French Dispatch in theaters July 24, 2020.
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Source: Slash Film