In the movie, one of the children, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), finds a pamphlet titled “Coping With the Very Troubled Child” in the home she shares with her parents and three brothers. That episode, Anderson revealed in a news conference, was the only one in “Moonrise Kingdom” inspired by autobiography. (Anderson, 43, grew up in Houston, as one of three brothers.)
“I did find the pamphlet on the refrigerator,” Anderson recalled. “I wasn’t the only child in the house, but I knew which one was the very troubled child. I think if my brothers had found it, they would not have looked to themselves.”
A few days later, Anderson was suffering a case of sharer’s remorse. “I don’t even know if it was read, I just happened to discover it,” he said in an effort to refine, if not correct, the record. Anderson, a famously natty dresser, wears a flawlessly cut cream suit (a tad too small, the way he likes it), lightly checked shirt, maroon-striped tie and hotel slippers for the interview, which he conducted in a room that “Moonrise Kingdom” co-star Bill Murray had recently vacated. “You’d be surprised how many people asked me about [the pamphlet]. My dad is going to be annoyed.
“No, he’s not going to care,” Anderson said in yet another switchback. He searched for the right words, stammering slightly. “I just don’t want to have told something too personal.”
This tension — between disclosure and defensiveness, intimacy and distance, honesty and artifice — could be said to animate all of Anderson’s work, which, since his smashing debut in 1996 with “Bottle Rocket,” has become one of the few genuinely distinctive oeuvres in American filmmaking. In his subsequent films — “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,”
“The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,”
“The Darjeeling Limited,”
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” and now ”Moonrise Kingdom” — Anderson has carved out a singular style involving lovingly composed production designs, carefully curated soundtracks, archly witty plots (often involving eccentric families) and characters that are inevitably described as “quirky.”
He’s also assembled a repertory company of actors that Orson Welles would envy, including the notoriously choosy Murray, as well as Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston and Owen and Luke Wilson, whom he’s known since his days with Owen when they were students at the University of Texas in Austin.
Both Murray and Schwartzman are on hand in “Moonrise Kingdom,” which also stars Anderson newcomers Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jared Gilman, who plays young Sam Shakusky, the love-struck kid who escapes from Khaki Scout camp to save Suzy from her indifferent family. (Both Hayward and Gilman are making their big-screen debuts in the film.)