"When I was a child I was
always impressed by the kid who skipped a couple of grades because he was so
smart, but he couldn't get his lunch unwrapped. He couldn't deal with normal
life at all. In the case of The Royal Tenenbaums, they all peaked early,
and both Owen and I were very interested in what happens afterwards? Often
having some special skill makes you different from everybody else, and makes
you less able to cope with normal things."
"Wes and I have similar sensibilities and similar backgrounds, and I think
that's why it's easy for us to write together. Our weaknesses are the same,
neither of us are good at plot and both of us like funny, odd characters."
"We had a good idea of the characters and who they were long before there
was any story. I've never had a movie where it started with a plot, but the
characters gave us a plot and sort of took over. Royal was not the main
character at the beginning, everybody had this malaise and were swirling around
each other when that character came in and took over because he made things
happen in the story."
"I liked the idea that there was constant conflict between Royal and his
family, and that nothing ever went smoothly for him. As an actor that's
something that I recognize and I can play, and I think that kind of conflict is
the basis of drama."
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"My father [director John Huston] has certainly been called a genius, and
it's a challenge in any family to have to live up to parents who are considered
geniuses. In the case of the Tenenbaums, I would hesitate to call Etheline a
genius. She's certainly an intellect, but I think the children are the result
of a genetic combination that made them into geniuses."
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"There is less room for improvisation in Wes' films because
everybody respects his writing, and because the scenes are so specific in terms
of the blocking and the way he sees the world. It's hard to figure out how to
improvise for a character when the writing is so specific. And there was hardly
any rehearsal - I'd venture to say no rehearsal. I had dinner with Wes a couple
of times to talk about the approach to the part and what they were looking for,
and then we got on the set and we just went into it."
"Let me tell you about Wes, and I use this word when I speak about
my dad, he's precious. There's something precious about Wes in the climate that
exists in this industry. Wes told this story in a way that appealed to my own
sensibilities about dealing with issues of what kind of healing relationships I
want to create among my family and communities. He created a character who is a
healer. It's a story about healing."