“Moonrise Kingdom” marks an important moment in the Wes Anderson canon; it’s his first film without any involvement from Owen Wilson, his writing partner and frequent star. Wilson co-wrote and starred in “Bottle Rocket,” he co-wrote “Rushmore” (and contributed a little pictoral cameo), co-wrote and starred in “The Royal Tenenbaums,” starred in “The Life Aquatic” and “The Darjeeling Limited,” and let his voice to a minor character in “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” But in ‘Moonrise?’ Despite rumors of a cameo, he’s nowhere to be found, either in front of or behind the camera.
But the good news is, that absence isn’t going to be a lasting one. On the “Moonrise Kingdom” press tour, the director’s already started talking up his next picture, a film he describes as ‘a European movie,’ and one written by an old friend with no involvement in the movie business. While details are still thin on the ground (Anderson’s still writing it), he has now revealed that another old friend is involved in the project, and one very much involved in the movie business. You guessed it, it’s Owen Wilson.
Anderson spoke to the Dallas Morning News (via The Film Stage), and told the paper that “This is the first movie I’ve made that [Wilson] hasn’t been directly involved with, although he was around as a friend. We started out doing this stuff together in the first place. It’s a family dynamic.” But Anderson confirmed to the reporter that the new script, described as ‘a large ensemble piece’ does have a role for Wilson in it. Will it be a lead? Or another supporting/cameo role, a la ‘Tenenbaums’ and “Fantastic Mr. Fox?” Well, we’re unlikely to find out for a little while: we imagine Anderson will be writing for a little while, with the film unlikely to go before cameras before 2013. But it’s good to hear that Wilson will be back: as much as we like “Moonrise Kingdom,” a Wes Anderson film without him doesn’t feel quite right.