Schwartzman and Anderson have worked together since Rushmore, a film that Schwartzmann touches on briefly in the interview below, and they are clearly also the best of friends. In addition to Rushmore Schwartzman also talked about working with Wes Anderson in general, the influence that his family have had on his career and his next film, Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III.
Read on for my interview with Jason Schwartzman.
Moonrise Kingdom is out in cinemas 25 May
Meeting Wes Anderson for the first time and their relationship together.
The first time I met him was at the audition for Rushmore. I was very nervous, it was my first time ever in an audition and even acting. I didn’t really know what to expect, I had no other experience and I had no frame of reference. Not knowing what to expect, I was very nervous, and I just walked in and there’s Wes. Everything instantly just changed. I didn’t know what to expect but it wasn’t him, he was so young and he had great shoes on. I’ll never forget, he had on these Converse sandals and I said, ‘what is that?’ And I think that we instantly started talking about stuff and next thing we’re talking about Weezer and I just felt so relaxed. That was the first time I met him and we ended up working together. He’s always been a mentor to me and he’s like my best friend, a teacher, an advice giver and I’m a fan of his movies too. I love the things that make him laugh, they make me laugh. He’s just a great person to be around.
I’ve worked with many different directors, and when I did my television show I worked with a new director every week, but ultimately I think that the way that I work with Wes is ingrained in me, in a certain way. A very specific way.
The similarities/differences between acting and playing music.
There are, of course, all the obvious differences but I think to me that when you’re in a band and things are going well and it feels real good, I think it can be really similar feeling to acting with people. I think any time something clicks with a group of people, however it does, is cool. When a team of five people are playing sport and something goes perfectly it’s great. I think in scenes one person is kind of the guitar player, one is like the drummer, there is a natural structure to things and I do think of things like music. If it’s supposed to be a harmony, I believe in that harmony. A live performance though, I don’t think there’s anything else like it. You’re just working yourself up in to something, it’s a whole other cool thing. I love playing live in a band.
When you’re writing and something is not quite working and you’re trying to figure it out, I like that. And when you’re in a band you just scratch your head and try and figure it out and it’s fun.
His formative influences and the impact on his career of his mother and father.
Each side [of my family] has parts that are great and each has things that you wish could be better and that just seems like life. I am very thankful that I got to grow up around my mum. It was interesting to grow up around her because her and that whole side of her family love music and film, like really love it. Love, love, love it. Not really into Hollywood, not into the stuff of Hollywood, so I didn’t grow up on a movie set or anything, with anything fancy. I’m very happy for that. The thing that I’m most thankful for though is that when I came home from school my mum would be watching an old movie or listening to music very loudly and I could see that it was effecting her very deeply. I witnessed that a movie or a piece of music could be more than just something on a television or something coming out of speakers. It could be very powerful. I don’t know that if maybe my mum had done something else for a living maybe I would have done something else but I kind of feel like music just became a part of my life so early on, I just loved it so much.
On my father’s side I had a different kind of family closeness because a lot of my mum’s side all lived in New York or California, whereas on my father’s side they all lived in LA, so I think that’s where I was really immersed in a family with cousins and brothers and grandparents. I think that’s where you learn the dynamics of extended family.
The amount of control he has working on films, in comparison to playing in a band, and what it’s like working with Wes Anderson.
Everything always seems to be different. I think it depends on how you enter something and it will continue to effect how you do things. The way I got into movies felt so haphazard and felt so rushed and strange, I think I will always carry with me a feeling of, ‘I’ll do anything!’. It’s like getting punched whilst exhaling. I think there is no way to work, you just do whatever it takes to work and you work hard and then you hope to do the best job you can for the director. So on a movie set of some movies you have some freedom and some you have none. And I don’t care, I’ll do whatever it takes. I like Wes because I like to be directed and like to have someone who knows what they want and at the same time is interested in what could happen. I think that’s where Wes is. He was like, ’email me any ideas you have, anything you want to try…’ I think there’s many different personalities but, me, I don’t like total freedom. Like in The Five Obstructions when he says ‘no obstructions’ and he’s all thrown. I like to work with Wes because I like to have very clear guidelines to go and have fun.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan II.
It’s done. I think it’s great. I think there’s many different kinds of art and I love musicals because I feel like a songwriter is imagining characters and writing for characters. Like Randy Newman, an old style songwriter not having to be totally autobiographical. And then there are other composers where when you are with it it feels so intimate. And that’s how I feel with Roman’s movie. I feel that to see that movie is really to be in his mind.
Charlie Sheen’s appearance in the movie.
He’s the best. So great. I love him. He’s a poet, a poet.