Wes Anderson's world: His recurring cast

Some of director Wes Anderson's Hollywood collaborators are becoming just as essential to the filmmaker's cosmos as saturated color palettes and Futura font are to his aesthetic. Click through to see which of Anderson's quirky characters they've played.

MORE: Scenes from 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' | Anderson deconstructs 'Moonrise Kingdom'

Bill Murray | Owen Wilson | Jason Schwartzman | Adrien Brody | Anjelica Huston | Willem Dafoe | Luke Wilson | Tilda Swinton | Jeff Goldblum | Edward Norton | Michael Gambon

A collage of actor Bill Murray in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right, top to bottom: "Rushmore," "Moonrise Kingdom," "The Royal Tenebaums," "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel."


Bill Murray has racked up the most screen time with Anderson, appearing in seven films by the director. His induction onto Anderson's call list was with his portrayal of a wealthy industrialist who gets caught in a love triangle between a precocious 15-year-old and an elementary school teacher in "Rushmore." Anderson revealed that Murray took the job for a Screen Actors Guild-approved minimum (he made approximately $9,000 total).

Murray landed a feature role in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" as a once-famous oceanographer documenting his hunt for the shark that ate his closest friend. In an interview with Dark Horizons, the actor said it was the hardest part he's ever played — one he may have skipped without Anderson at the helm. "If you read the script and you didn't know who was in charge, you would be much less confident. I sure as hell wouldn't leave the country [for production] ... for just anybody, because you've got to have some faith in who you're with."

1. Herman Blume, "Rushmore," 1998

2. Raleigh St. Clair, "The Royal Tenenbaums," 2001

3. Steve Zissou, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," 2004

4. The Business Man, "The Darjeeling Limited," 2007

5. Badger, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," 2009

6. Mr. Bishop, "Moonrise Kingdom," 2012

7. M. Ivan, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

    A collage of actor Owen Wilson in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right, top to bottom: "The Darjeeling Limited," "Bottle Rocket," "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel."


    Owen Wilson, who has appeared in six of Anderson's feature-length films, has known the director since college. According to Matt Zoller Seitz, author of "The Wes Anderson Collection," the two met at a playwriting class at the University of Texas. "We were signing up for classes and he started asking me to help him figure out what he should do, as if we knew each other. As if we had ever spoken before or knew each other's names," Anderson said. "I almost feel like he was taking it for granted that if we didn't know each other yet, soon we would."

    Wilson's first acting credit, "Bottle Rocket," was also Anderson's directorial debut. In the crime film he plays a tenacious Texan set on completing a heist with his ill-conceived plan.

    The actor worked with Anderson on and off the screen; he co-wrote "Bottle Rocket," "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums," which was nominated for an original screenplay Oscar.

    1. Dignan, "Bottle Rocket," 1996

    2. Eli Cash, "The Royal Tenenbaums," 2001

    3. Ned Plimpton, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," 2004

    4. Francis Whitman, "The Darjeeling Limited," 2007

    5. Coach Skip, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," 2009

    6. M. Chuck, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

      A collage of actor Jason Schwartzman in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right, top to bottom: "Rushmore," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Moonrise Kingdom," "The Darjeeling Limited" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel."


      Jason Schwartzman began his acting career when he was 17 years old, as the protagonist in Anderson's "Rushmore." He told The Times in 2010 about the serendipity: "I was at a party and there was a casting director and she said, 'Excuse me, are you an actor?' I said no. 'Well, I'm casting a movie for a gentleman named Wes Anderson.' And thus began this process of auditioning for 'Rushmore.'" The young Schwartzman, who had writing aspirations and no prior acting experience besides an unsuccessful audition for a school production, was unsure he'd land a role he had come to love. "It was the first script I ever read and I instantly felt, 'This is what I find funny. Whoever gets this is going to have a great time.'"

      Years later, Schwartzman joined Anderson to cowrite and star in "The Darjeeling Limited," about the reunion of three estranged brothers in India. He has continued to work with the director, appearing in a total of five feature films and two shorts — one a prologue to "The Darjeeling Limited" and the other a critically acclaimed piece sponsored by fashion house Prada.

      1. Max Fischer, "Rushmore," 1998

      2. Jack Whitman, "The Darjeeling Limited," 2007

      3. Ash Fox, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," 2009

      4. Cousin Ben, "Moonrise Kingdom," 2012

      5. M. Jean, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

        A collage of actor Adrien Brody in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right, top to bottom: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Darjeeling Limited" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox."


        Adrien Brody first stepped onto Anderson's set for "The Darjeeling Limited" alongside Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, two actors who tote long histories with the director. "It was like a theater company," Brody told "I felt like being a part of that was a gift, because they already have their routine. They already have their way of working." Anderson said he wrote Brody's role (the middle of three brothers who have grown apart since their father's funeral) with the actor in mind.

        In "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Brody portrays Dmitri, the mustachioed son of a wealthy hotel patron who passes away during the last night of her stay. He also made a brief cameo in "Fantastic Mr. Fox," voicing the tiny field mouse.

        1. Peter Whitman, "The Darjeeling Limited," 2007

        2. Rickity the field mouse, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," 2009

        3. Dmitri, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

          A collage of actress Anjelica Huston in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Life Aquatic."


          Anjelica Huston has oft been tapped to fill the complex matriarchal roles in Anderson's works. "I like roles with a bit of an edge. For that reason I am well suited to Wes' ethos," she told OutNow.CH in 2005. "I like to call it 'Wesworld.' Wes creates his own universe. He is very specific. It's a lovely thing to enter."

          Fun fact from "The Royal Tenenbaums" press kit: Anderson sent Huston photos of his own mother, Texas Anderson, in preparation for playing Etheline Tenenbaum. "He even produced his mother's old eyeglasses for the early scenes," Huston quipped. "I asked him, 'Wes, am I playing your mother?' I think he was astonished by that idea."

          1. Etheline Tenenbaum, "The Royal Tenenbaums," 2001

          2. Eleanor Zissou, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," 2004

          3. Patricia Whitman, "The Darjeeling Limited," 2007

            A collage of actor Willem Dafoe in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "The Life Aquatic."

            WILLEM DAFOE

            Willem Dafoe has made an impressionable mark in Anderson's filmography, dropping his typically dramatic air to play the adoring Klaus Daimler in "The Life Aquatic," voicing the slinky, Southern rat in "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and embodying a cold-blooded assassin in "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

            In a 2012 conversation between Anderson and Dafoe, the director revealed that Dafoe's work on "The Life Aquatic" influenced his future productions. "You were so engaged; you were just interested in staying in it — that was happening on a shot-by-shot basis and your character ended up being much fuller," he said. "After we finished that movie I decided I never wanted to do another movie with a trailer parked anywhere near it. I don’t want anybody to have anywhere they could possibly go to, largely because you never went to your trailer and that fed into the movie."

            1. Klaus Daimler, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," 2004

            2. Rat, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," 2009

            3. J.G. Jopling, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014
              A collage of actor Luke Wilson in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Bottle Rocket."

              LUKE WILSON

              Like his brother, Owen, Luke Wilson scored his first film credit with "Bottle Rocket." The movie was first released as a 13-minute short in 1994, then expanded to a full-length feature two years later.

              In 2012, the actor told he was proudest of his work on "The Royal Tenenbaums." "To be in Manhattan, making a totally different kind of movie — not kid-related or juvenile, not about fumbling criminals or a crazy kid — to be doing a more mature movie definitely felt like things were ramping up," he said.

              1. Anthony Adams, "Bottle Rocket," 1996

              2. Dr. Peter Flynn, "Rushmore," 1998

              3. Richie Tenenbaum, "The Royal Tenenbaums," 2001

                A collage of actress Tilda Swinton in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

                TILDA SWINTON

                Tilda Swinton may have undergone the most physical change for Wes Anderson films. With her wisped, white coif, speckled skin and cloudy eyes, the actress looks nearly unrecognizable as the ill-fated Madame D. in "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

                Like many of the director's other cast members, Swinton thinks rather fondly of working within the specificity of Anderson's colorful landscapes and lush story lines. "I just long for Wes Anderson's films to come out," she said in a promotional interview for "Grand Budapest." "Even better than being on the cinema is being on a Wes Anderson set."

                1. Social Services, "Moonrise Kingdom," 2012

                2. Madame D., "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

                  A collage of actor Jeff Goldblum in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "The Life Aquatic" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

                  JEFF GOLDBLUM

                  Jeff Goldblum has contributed to two Anderson flicks, first as the technologically savvy, wealthy rival of a vengeful oceanographer in "The Life Aquatic," second as a deputy in the Eastern European period piece "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

                  Goldblum, who has commented approvingly on the meticulous nature of Anderson's screenplays, says that the characters are people he's eager to portray. "For me, they're just for my taste, interesting, nonformulaic, not the expected thing, complicated, surprising in what they say and what they wear," he said in a 2004 interview with

                  1. Allistair Hennessey, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," 2004

                  2. Deputy Kovacs, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

                    A collage of actor Edward Norton in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Moonrise Kingdom."

                    EDWARD NORTON

                    Edward Norton is a more recent member of Anderson's surrogate actor family, entering the director's world in very short khakis as a Boy Scout leader in "Moonrise Kingdom" in 2012. The two had started a correspondence in 1998, after the release of "Rushmore." "I wrote him a letter after I saw 'Rushmore' that was just full of appreciation for that film," Norton recounted on the set of "Moonrise," adding that he took the offer for his role even before reading the script. "It's one of those things .... You hope and wait, and then something comes together."

                    1. Scoutmaster Randy Ward, "Moonrise Kingdom," 2012

                    2. Henckels, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," 2014

                      A collage of actor Michael Gambon in various Wes Anderson films. From left to right: "The Life Aquatic" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox."

                      MICHAEL GAMBON

                      Irish-born actor Michael Gambon has played two of Anderson's characters: oceanographer Steve Zissou's financier in "The Life Aquatic" and the ruthless apple and turkey farmer in "Fantastic Mr. Fox."

                      1. Oseary Drakoulias, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," 2004

                      2. Franklin Bean, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," 2009


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