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Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Begins Filming, Gets Picked Up By Focus Features

Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' Begins Filming, Gets Picked Up By Focus Features

Film Finalizes Cast With Newcomers Jared Gilman & Kara Hayward

Hard to believe, but it’s been nearly four years since we’ve seen a live-action Wes Anderson film (though his stop-motion adaptation of “Fantastic Mr. Fox” did help fill the void). Well, fans of the director shouldn’t have to wait too much longer because filming has already begun on his next project, “Moonrise Kingdom,” in Rhode Island. Set in the ’60s on an island off the coast of New England, the film assembles perhaps his most impressive cast to date (or at least since “The Royal Tenenbaums“), including Anderson first-timers Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton as well as Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. Also confirmed are the 12-year-old boy and girl at the center of the film, newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The script is penned by Anderson himself and “The Darjeeling Limited” co-writer Roman Coppola, and will be Anderson’s first period piece.

And to top off this good news, Focus Features has picked up the international distribution rights for the film (just in time to sell the foreign rights at Cannes). This will be the first film of Anderson’s to be distributed by Focus. His first feature, “Bottle Rocket,” was distributed by Columbia, with “Rushmore,” ‘Tenenbaums’ and “The Life Aquatic” all at Touchstone/Disney, and his most recent efforts ‘Darjeeling’ and ‘Fox’ released by Fox Searchlight. The picture will be his third film produced by Indian Paintbrush, who also produced and co-financed his last two efforts, and fifth collaboration with producer Scott Rudin, who has helped out on everything since ‘Tenenbaums.’ While we haven’t loved every one of Anderson’s recent efforts, it seems like he’s trying to shake things up a bit with his new film and that’s definitely something we’re excited about. Check out the full synopsis for the film below.

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, Moonrise Kingdom follows a young boy and girl falling in love. When they are moved to run away together, various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down – which might not be such a bad thing. Bruce Willis plays the town sheriff; two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton is cast as a camp leader; Academy Award nominee Bill Murray and Academy Award winner Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents; the cast also includes Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman. The young boy and girl are played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.

Owen Wilson was coy about his involvement with the film a few months back and while there’s still no confirmation here, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him pop up in a small role. Also released recently is a call for background actors in Rhode Island that includes 12-14 year old boys with sailing/canoeing experience, knowledge of Morse code and a pair of “salty fisherman” aged 70 years or older. With this sudden flood of information, fans of the director should practically be able to start building the film in their heads.

“Moonrise Kingdom” is now filming for a probable 2012 release.

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