The Wes Anderson Collection

The Wes Anderson Collection includes original illustration by Max Dalton, like this cast of characters from Anderson's films.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Matt Zoller Seitz, critic and longtime acquaintance of the filmmaker, created the book, which riffs its graphic design off of Anderson's cinematic style.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Seitz has known Anderson for over two decades, ever since he met the young director after seeing his first release, a short film of what would later become Bottle Rocket.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Seitz's book charts Anderson's creative ascent from that debut feature to last year's Moonrise Kingdom.

Above: Camp Ivanhoe from Moonrise Kingdom by Max Dalton

The Wes Anderson Collection

The volume is packed with film ephemera including stills, storyboards, and set photos, as well as original illustrations by Max Dalton.

Above: The Darjeeling Limited's namesake train, by Max Dalton.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Seven chapters make up the book's structure, each one devoted to one of Anderson's theatrical releases.

Above: Rushmore's gated compound, by Max Dalton.

The Wes Anderson Collection

While visuals abound, the book also consists of a significant amount of text, including an introduction by novelist Michael Chabon (who compares Anderson's films to Nabokov novels, among other things).

The Wes Anderson Collection

The bulk of the book is devoted to long interviews between Anderson and Seitz that tackle the inspirations and creations of each of the films.

Above: Cross-section of 111 Archer Avenue, from The Royal Tenenbaums, by Max Dalton.

The Wes Anderson Collection

The interview transcriptions are fascinating, even if they chiefly illustrate Seitz's admiration for Anderson and his profound appreciation for the films.

Above: A young Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, on the set of Bottle Rocket.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Anderson dithers and generally shrinks away from Seitz's oftentimes grandiose readings of the former's movies.

Above: Behind the scenes of shooting The Royal Tenenbaums.

The Wes Anderson Collection

In general, Anderson mostly affirms Seitz's readings, which are highly interesting in their own right.

Above: Luke Wilson with "Mordecai" from The Royal Tenenbaums.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Even so, The Wes Anderson Collection excels as a thorough study behind its notoriously idiosyncratic subject. Fans shouldn't do without it.

Above: Owen Wilson on elephant, on the set of The Darjeeling Limited.

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Inside The Mind Of Tweemo Cinema King Wes Anderson

The Wes Anderson Collection is an exhaustive study of the director's wild and whimsical world.

In the past several weeks, two bits of Wes Anderson news have surfaced. One is the trailer for the filmmaker's forthcoming cinematic venture, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The second is the release of a new book, The Wes Anderson Collection, which offers a peak into the director's elaborate process for creating his movies' aesthetics.

The Wes Anderson Collection was conceived by Matt Zoller Seitz, critic and longtime acquaintance of the filmmaker. Featuring original illustrations by Max Dalton, the volume charts Anderson’s rise from cinephile to full-fledged auteur over the course of seven films, beginning with Bottle Rocket, and it includes ephemera like still photographs, storyboards, and anecdotes.

The book kicks off with an introduction by novelist Michael Chabon and then each of its seven chapters correspond to one of Anderson’s theatrical releases, up through last year’s Moonrise Kingdom. Seitz’s own interviews with Anderson round out the wealth of visual material.

To leaf through The Wes Anderson Collection is to experience the meticulously constructed celluloid worlds of The Royal Tenenbaums or Fantastic Mr. Fox in graphic form. Seitz’s heartfelt homage to Anderson’s films is evident on the page, both in his text and the book’s layout, which he helped to design. The layout makes inventive use of Anderson’s patented encyclopedia-like process of displaying bricolage sourced from the films. For instance, the laundry list of Max Fischer’s extracurricular activities—which plays at the start of Rushmore—is arrayed in a Jeopardy-square composition spanning a full spread. Elsewhere, the Belafonte, Steve Zissou’s ship from The Life Aquatic, is compartmentalized into a series of stills that reproduce the film’s famous camera pan in piecemeal fashion.

Original cinematic material is supplemented by Dalton’s whimsical drawings, which faithfully depict titular characters and iconic scenes from the Anderson canon. The illustrations are very much in the spirit of the doodles and figural wallpaper littered throughout the films, which heavily influenced Dalton’s own work. "The first Wes Anderson movie I saw was The Royal Tenenbaums—that was in 2001—and it completely blew my mind," says the illustrator, who had previously produced a series of posters dedicated to 111 Archer Avenue and the Belafonte. "I felt strongly connected to that movie."

Pick up the book here for $24. And don't miss Seitz's excellent video adaptation of his essays on each of Anderson's films, here.

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  • Michele Brautnick

    Don't forget to credit the amazing Martin Venezky for the creative direction and design of this fantastic book!