Two friends and I went to go see The Darjeeling Limited last weekend. And while, to us three Wes Anderson devotees, Owen Wilson’s recent suicide attempt lent little, if any, unintentional pathos to his physical appearance in the film (Wilson’s character is bandaged heavily from a recent accident) I wondered later about how Wilson’s public persona – affable, charming, stoner lothario – would be affected by this latest, and darkest – of turns.
Maybe Wes Anderson was wondering about that, too – and was, perhaps, uniquely suited to help Owen respond. Troy Patterson’s article in Slate tipped me off to an interview with Anderson and Wilson now up on MySpace TV, a short clip that Patterson can only marvel at:
Would the star’s talk with his friend and collaborator—his first interview since that calamity—represent some new development in PR crisis management? Well, kinda, maybe. But while wishing Wilson good health and happiness, let’s mull over another question: What the hell was that?
If you get a chance to view the interview, you’ll understand what he means. At times it feels like a send-up of “serious” filmmaker interviews deconstructing their craft, and at others, like two lifelong buddies trying to tell you about some of the wacky stuff they saw on their most recent trip together (which is what they are and what they did – Wilson and Anderson grew up with each other, and filmed the Darjeeling Limited in India.) What it doesn’t do is mention Owen’s recent troubles. The closest Anderson comes to even glancing at the subject is when he mentions that this film (and its themes of loss) is “our most personal.” They answer each other’s questions in tones that seem like they just finished talking about something much more important than filming a video meant to shill for their new movie, while at the same time telling you that something is none of your damn business.
When I call this clip stunningly banal, I’m trying to offer a compliment. There’s something as comforting as oatmeal in its refusal to serve as a showbiz confessional, to gratify the thirst for tears and sap. You might click it into existence feeling like a vulture—a scavenger preparing to snack on celebrity misery—but you come away aware of yourself as a mildly bored human.
Crisis strategies abound, and few of us have internationally acclaimed movie directors to help us fashion responses to such crises, such as this one is (or isn’t.) Whatever it is, it manages to keep you interested in Wes Anderson, his new film, and his star, co-writer and friend Owen Wilson, and all the good work that they do, in the midst of real-life trouble and strife. — Theodore Hahn