Wesley Wales Anderson (born May 1, 1969) is an American film director, film producer, screenwriter, and actor. His films are known for their distinctive visual and narrative styles.
Anderson was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001, Moonrise Kingdom in 2012 and The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, as well as the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009. He received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014. He also received the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2015. He currently runs production company American Empirical Pictures, which he founded in 1998. Anderson won the Silver Bear for Best Director for the stop-motion animated film Isle of Dogs in 2018.
Anderson is regarded by many as a modern-day example of the auteur. He has received consistent praise from critics for his work, and three of his films—The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel—appeared in BBC’s 2016 poll of the greatest films since 2000.
He graduated from St. John’s School in Houston in 1987, which he later used as a prominent location throughout Rushmore. As a child, Anderson made silent films on his father’s Super 8 camera, starring his brothers and friends, although his first ambition was to be a writer. Anderson attended college while working part-time as a cinema projectionist. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in philosophy in 1990, where he met future frequent collaborator Owen Wilson.
Anderson’s next film was Rushmore (1998), a quirky comedy about a high school student’s crush on an elementary school teacher starring Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. It was a critical success. Murray has since appeared in every Anderson film to date. In 2000, filmmaker Martin Scorsese praised Bottle Rocket and Rushmore.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) was Anderson’s next comedy-drama film, about a successful artistic New York City family and its ostracized patriarch. It represented his greatest success until Moonrise Kingdom in 2012, earning more than $50 million in domestic box office receipts. The Royal Tenenbaums was nominated for an Academy Award and ranked by an Empire poll as the 159th greatest film ever made.
Anderson in 2005
The Darjeeling Limited (2007) was about three emotionally distant brothers traveling together on a train in India. It reflected the more dramatic tone of The Royal Tenenbaums but faced criticisms similar to The Life Aquatic. Anderson has acknowledged that he went to India to film the movie partly as a tribute to Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, whose “films have also inspired all my other movies in different ways” (the film is dedicated to him). The film starred Anderson staples Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson in addition to Adrien Brody, and the script was co-written by Anderson, Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola.
In 2008, Anderson was hired to write the screenplay of the American adaptation of My Best Friend, a French film, for producer Brian Grazer; Anderson’s first draft was titled “The Rosenthaler Suite”.
Anderson’s stop motion animation adaptation of the Roald Dahl book Fantastic Mr Fox was released in 2009. The film was highly praised and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, although not earning much more than its production budget.
Anderson, Koyu Rankin, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Goldblum, and Kunichi Nomura at the Isle of Dogs press conference at Berlinale 2018
Anderson’s next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), starred Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, and Saoirse Ronan, along with several of his regular collaborators including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman. It is set in the 1930s and follows the adventures of M. Gustave, the hotel’s concierge, making “a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures”, according to The New York Times. The film represented one of Anderson’s greatest critical and commercial successes, grossing nearly $175 million worldwide and earning dozens of award nominations, including nine Oscar nominations with four wins. These nominations also included his first for Best Director.
Anderson returned to stop motion animation with Isle of Dogs, featuring the voices of Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama, Koyu Rankin, Courtney B. Vance, Yoko Ono, and Edward Norton. Production on the film started in the United Kingdom in October 2016, and it was released in select theaters on March 23, 2018, and wide on April 6, 2018 
Anderson has also created several notable short films. In addition to the original Bottle Rocket short, he made the Paris-set Hotel Chevalier (2007), which was created as a prologue to The Darjeeling Limited and starred Jason Schwartzman alongside Natalie Portman, and the Italy-set Castello Cavalcanti (2013), which was produced by Prada and starred Jason Schwartzman as an unsuccessful race-car driver. Additionally, he has directed a number of television commercials for companies such as Stella Artois and Prada, including an elaborate American Express ad, in which he starred as himself.
Anderson’s cinematic influences include François Truffaut, Louis Malle, Pedro Almodóvar, Satyajit Ray, John Huston, Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, and Roman Polanski.
Themes and stories
From The Life Aquatic on, Anderson has relied more heavily on stop motion animation and miniatures, even making entire features with stop motion animation with Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs.
Malouf gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Freya, in 2016. She is named after a character from the film The Mortal Storm. Anderson lives in Paris but has spent the majority of his life in New York.
He is the brother of artist Eric Chase Anderson, who illustrated the Criterion Collection releases of Anderson’s films (except for Moonrise Kingdom) and provided the voice of Kristofferson Silverfox in Fantastic Mr. Fox.