As well as symmetrical sets, quirky characters, and his signature color palette, Wes Anderson is famous for working with many of the same cast members in all his pictures. This adds to the auteur’s signature style, creating a unique world that’s threaded through all his films. True to form, The French Dispatch features many of Anderson’s most frequent collaborators.
From his childhood buddy Owen Wilson to film veteran Bob Balaban, Wes Anderson has teamed up with many of his long-time collaborators for this highly anticipated feature. Here are 10 famous faces to look out for in The French Dispatch.
10 Bob Balaban
Bob Balaban’s first Wes Anderson collaboration was in 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom in which he led the viewer through the story as the Narrator, dressed in a memorable red anorak and green woolly hat ensemble. In a cute promotional gimmick, Anderson also created a series of short animated films based on Suzy’s books in Moonrise Kingdom which are introduced by Bob Balaban in a reprisal of his role as the Narrator.
Balaban has appeared in every Wes Anderson movie since Moonrise Kingdom. In The French Dispatch, he’ll play the business-partner-uncle of Adrien Brody’s Julien Cadazio.
9 Willem Dafoe
First featured as a crew member aboard the Belafonte in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Willem Dafoe has since starred in Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and now The French Dispatch.
Dafoe is perfectly cast as sinister hitman J. G. Jopling in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson’s most recent and arguably most critically acclaimed film, memorably punching Zero the lobby boy right in the mush. More Dafoe-Anderson action in The French Dispatch is sure to gratify audiences.
8 Tilda Swinton
Icy Hollywood and indie film goddess Tilda Swinton has high billing in The French Dispatch. She plays J. K. L. Berensen, a writer at the French Dispatch magazine.
One of the most versatile actors on the planet, Swinton plays the stern Social Services in Moonrise Kingdom; a watery-eyed dowager in The Grand Budapest Hotel; and a pug called Oracle in Isle Of Dogs. So, it’s exciting to consider what she’ll bring to her journalistic role in The French Dispatch.
7 Edward Norton
Edward Norton’s work with Wes Anderson is a far cry from the roles that made him famous, notably neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard in American History X and Tyler Durden’s alter-ego in cult classic Fight Club. From a boy scout leader to peppy pup Rex, his Anderson roles tend to be a little more wholesome than his earlier fare.
Like Tilda Swinton and Bob Balaban, Edward Norton joined the Wes Anderson troupe for Moonrise Kingdom and has featured in every one of his films since. The French Dispatch sees him play the kidnapper of a police officer’s son, and here’s hoping for an Andersonian take on a gritty crime caper.
6 Frances McDormand
Fresh from success in Chloe Zhao’s Oscar-winning Nomadland, Frances McDormand stars as journalist Lucinda Krementz in The French Dispatch, a writer researching student revolutionaries in France.
McDormand has only starred in one other live-action Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, making her a relatively new member of the Anderson ensemble. She was also the voice of Interpreter Nelson in Isle Of Dogs. Lucinda Krementz will be her most prolific role in a Wes Anderson film to date, so she’s sure to add typical charisma and finesse to the film.
5 Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody made his first Wes Anderson picture in 2007 as the sullen Peter Whitman in The Darjeeling Limited, and he’s been a stalwart member of the cast ever since. He memorably played Dmitri in The Grand Budapest Hotel, the aggressive, foul-mouthed son of Madame D who wages war on Gustave for supposedly stealing his inheritance.
Brody has a leading role in The French Dispatch as art dealer Julien Cadazio whose storyline is said to be based on a story about real-life art dealer Joseph Duveen.
4 Jason Schwartzmann
Jason Schwartzmann helped propel Wes Anderson’s movies into the spotlight, playing the preppy lead in the 1998 film Rushmore. Although not Anderson’s first feature, Rushmore is the film that began his journey to becoming a renowned, bankable director.
Since Rushmore, Schwartzmann has starred in six more Wes Anderson feature films including The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Isle Of Dogs. Long-time Anderson fans will be eager to check out his performance in The French Dispatch, more than 20 years after his appearance in Rushmore.
3 Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston’s first appearance in a Wes Anderson movie was as Etheline Tenenbaum, the matriarch of the titular family in the 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums. She’s featured in no less than five of his films in total, making her Wes Anderson’s fourth most frequent acting collaborator.
Huston narrates the trailer for The French Dispatch, her trademark gravelly tones telling the story that weaves the narratives together. Even the trailer narration is captivating, so she’s sure to spin a fantastic yarn in the film itself.
2 Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson starred in Wes Anderson’s first-ever feature film, Bottle Rocket, as well as the preceding short film of the same name. The two now-famous friends met at university, and so began the friendship that would propel both of them to stardom.
With the exception of Moonrise Kingdom and Isle Of Dogs, Wilson has starred in every Wes Anderson picture, so he’s one of the staunchest members of the Anderson collective. In The French Dispatch, he plays beret-topped writer Herbsaint Sazerac, a journalist reportedly based on the New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell.
1 Bill Murray
It’s only right that the editor of the French Dispatch is a seasoned pro, which makes Bill Murray the perfect casting choice for the part of Arthur Howitzer Jr, the cold-blooded newsman in charge of the magazine.
Bill Murray has starred in every Wes Anderson film since Rushmore in 1998. From smaller roles like the businessman in The Darjeeling Limited to playing the lead in films such as The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Murray has sealed his reputation as a truly iconic member of the Wes Anderson ensemble.
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