Excited Wes Anderson fans: do you need one more watchable to tide you over before Moonrise Kingdom enters wide release tomorrow? Wes Anderson-neutral filmgoers: do you need a little help cutting through the fans’ cloud of anticipation so you can make out what Moonrise Kingdom actually is? Both groups could benefit from a tour of the film by comedic superstar and unlikely Anderson regular Bill Murray. The film, a story of two young sweethearts on the run in 1965 New England, features Murray in the role of the girl’s father. Or, in his own words: “I play a, um… a man in the film.” He goes on to describe the director (“a nice guy, he’s made some good movies”), his co-stars (“Bruce Willis, playing a policeman — typecast, I guess”), and the production’s simple accommodations (“we had tents — like, pup tents”). He even crosses a wall from one set to another, echoing his tour of the Belafonte in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, three Anderson movies back. Whether you need the excitement inflated or deflated, leave it to Murray, master of the deadpan multiple meaning.
If you follow Murray’s craft and the sometimes unexpected challenges to which he applies it, keep your eyes open this awards season for Hyde Park on Hudson, a drama built around Murray as former United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Can’t envision it? Then give the trailer above a watch. The picture comes from director Roger Michell, best known in the last decade for Venus, and Notting Hill in the decade before that. This new period piece represents not a break from his usual English territory and sensibility so much as a recontextualization of it: it takes place during a particular weekend in 1939, the first time a British monarch made the trip to America, when Roosevelt entertained the King and Queen at his upstate New York home. The Wes Anderson faithful will note a reunion of sorts between Murray and Olivia Williams, who nearly fourteen years ago played Miss Cross in Anderson’s Rushmore. Her role in Hyde Park on Hudson? Eleanor Roosevelt.