Wes Anderson has revealed that his next feature film project will be simpler in terms of its production scale and with a more compact cast, after his ensemble works The French Dispatch and Asteroid City.
“I have a script that we wrote right before the strike… It’s simple with three characters and totally linear and it’s, I wouldn’t say traditional because it’s very weird, but it’s more straightforward,” he said.
The director teased the details in a packed masterclass at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, which he is attending this year with his medium-length Roald Dahl adaptation, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.
Hundreds of mainly young fans queued around the block to get into event at which Anderson shared his many influences from directors like Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle to Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.
Answering a question on how to build confidence from an aspiring young filmmaker in the room, Anderson shared his experiences on his debut 1996 film Bottle Rocket and its difficult first screening.
“We were making my little film… as an independent little thing, we were in Texas, not in New York, with a few thousand dollars – four – we were inching away, 16mm, black-and-white, that route, then the $4,000 was done, so were trying to raise $400,000 but we couldn’t,” he recalled.
He recalled how late Texas filmmaker L.M. Kit Carson had come on board to help them to find backers, when The Simpsons producers James L. Brooks and Polly Platt came on board.
“These two said: ‘Come to us and we’ll do it but you’ll have $5m’. They told us, ‘We can’t do a movie for less that $5m’. I was like, ‘Alright’,” he recounted.
“I thought it was too much money and in a way it was because it didn’t need to cost that… but it was fine,” he said.
“Then it was released by a big studio, Sony. They really didn’t want it. Jim wanted it, Polly wanted it. They really believed in it, but it was released by a big studio who was used to putting movies in a large number of cinemas… it wasn’t economically successful.
Anderson said the first public screening of the film had been a terrifying and that it shaken the youthful confidence that helped propel him along until then.
“I was quite shaken by this experience… We had 386 people in the audience, I think. I was seeing exactly how many people were there. By half-way through there were maybe 20 left. They left and I watched them leave. You watch someone get up and you say maybe this one is going to the bathroom… From then, anytime I am screening a movie, I’m terrified.”