How time flies. It might be hard to believe, but “Rushmore” —Wes Anderson’s sophomore feature, and Jason Schwartzman’s first ever screen credit— opened wide sixteen years ago last month. Thanks to a two-part, behind-the-scenes documentary, fans can revisit the making of the film. In the run-up to filming, Anderson asked his brother Eric Chase Anderson to make an electronic press kit for the film. Traditionally, the press crew is only on set for a few days, but Wes asked his brother to remain present for the duration of production. Eric’s sustained presence provided for some entertaining if not earth-shattering cinematic history.
Much time is dedicated to the casting of Schwartzman in the role of Max Fischer. “Rushmore is his first movie, and he was discovered after an exhaustive casting search in England, Canada, and the United States,” says Eric Chase Anderson. During the second part of the doc, Wes Anderson expounds upon the search, discussing seeing Schwartzman for the first time and the exact moment he realized he had found his Max Fischer. It can be easy to forget Schwartzman was a minor at the time and technically required to spend a certain amount of each day in school, a point Eric mentions.
Bill Murray is engaging herein —perhaps with the exception of a moment in which he and many of the younger cast members are discussing upcoming holidays, and they mention Groundhog Day. The impending joke is so obvious that you can see the younger actors trying to decide how to bring it up. They don’t, and the moment passes (later, Murray shaves his head after production wraps and convinces Eric Chase to do the same).
The roughly 19-minute doc is filled with these and numerous other fun facts. For example, did you know that assistant prop master Dave Bowen and script supervisor Scottie Peterson “provided stand-in shadows for Max and Mr. Guggenheim, as they squabble over surveillance photographs, which they do beneath the portrait of Winston Churchill.” Or that producer Barry Mendel doubled for Max’s hands in a close-up, because he “was roughly the same build as Jason Schwartzman.” Are you curious as to how Anderson displayed the text for months, which appeared on curtains and designated each chapter of the film? He achieved the effect through the use of a “slide projector equipped with a high-powered xenon bulb” as well as curtains, of course.
The funniest moment of the doc involves producing certain sound effects. Eric explains that “recording sound effects on the set was an important part of the movie. [In one scene], Magnus Buchan’s sidekick, played by young Ryan Urquhart, recorded the sound of him walking and running with Tic Tacs in his pockets. Between takes, Ryan ate the Tic Tacs, and they went out and bought more.”
Some of the most interesting moments come at the end and begin just before the seven and a half minute mark of the second video. There onward, Eric Chase Anderson provides side-by-side comparisons between the storyboards and the finished film. It’s a very neat way to convey how the film was visualized before cameras began to roll. Watch the making-of video below. [via Reddit]