A Magical Place
Creating the island community of New Penzance for MOONRISE KINGDOM
From using high-tech computer location search tools to deploying low-impact production techniques, the filmmakers worked hard to keep their set and location a magical place.
“What’s universal and relatable about MOONRISE KINGDOM is that this is a story about first love and a magical summer,” comments producer Jeremy Dawson. “It’s about a young boy and girl who run away to be together. There is a sweetness and charm to this movie, and it’s also funny.
“The title references the cove that the two kids run away to. It has the technical name of Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet on the map – but for them it’s a secret, magical place, so they re-name it: Moonrise Kingdom.”
Both the technical name and the more meaningful one represent the creative attention to detail that moviegoers have come to expect from a Wes Anderson picture. Anderson collaborated with his fellow filmmaker Roman Coppola in writing the script for MOONRISE KINGDOM, marking the second time that the two have scripted Anderson’s ideas into the road map of a movie, following The Darjeeling Limited (2007).
Balaban notes that he was struck by how “Wes makes movies according to his own particular sensibilities. His is not just a talented mind; it is an organized and kind one. He makes movies like nobody else, and he’s not trying to do it to be different; he’s doing it because that’s who he is.”
What is evident to any and all working with Anderson is how precise his directing style is; he knows exactly what he wants, and how he will proceed to get it, before arriving on set each day. This, however, only makes him relish the process even more; he exhibits a sense of pure joy through his direction. Actors and crew alike are invited to share in, and contribute to, his vision.
“He has a firm hand, yet things are very relaxed on the set,” reports Bob Balaban. “Actors love him. He’ll let you alone if things are going well; if he has something to talk to you about, he’ll be very articulate.”
“As a writer, a producer, and the director, Wes is involved in every element of the film, from clothing design to casting,” adds Dawson. “All of it contributes to the world that he wants to create.”
Anderson’s enthusiasm spreads to cast and artisans, many of whom will collaborate with him on more than one project. As one such returnee, Dawson notes, “He wants the movie to be an adventure for all the people involved in making it, whether it’s getting on a train in India or traveling on a boat in the Mediterranean. Making this movie definitely lived up to that tradition.
“He is always trying to evolve as a director, trying new things and learning from his experiences on previous movies.”
“Wes cares about the process,” says set decorator Kris Moran. “But he also cares about everybody around him, about the on-set environment; it brings out the best in you. When you’re making a movie, that’s a creative place you want to be in.”