THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
About The Production (Continued)
Anderson has lon g wanted to work with Ms. Paltrow, and offered h er the role of Margot Tenenbaum.
"There's something good-natured and always appealing about Gwyneth Paltrow, or the roles she has played. This is sort of a departure from that, because Margot does many things specifically not to be appealing.
The fact that Paltrow came from a sophisticated New York background would also
add to her portrayal of the very precocious Margot, as well, says producer Mendel. "Margot at age twelve is twelve going on eighteen. And you get a sense from Gwyneth Pal trow that is exactly how she was."
Paltrow was eager to play Margot Tenenbaum.
"Wes' movies have such a specific tone and sense of humor that really appeals to
me," she says. "When he told me he was sending over the script, I knew immediately I would be doing the film. When I read it, I saw what a great part it was, and that was just icing on the cake. I'm such a fan of both 'Bottle Rocket' and 'Rushmore' that whatever he asked me to do, I would do."
The complex issues the film raises also intrigued Paltrow.
"I think what the film illustrates clearly is that family is so crucial and so important to children, giving them a sense of identity and perspective. If children don't feel validated by the family or by either parent or by their parents' relationship, it can cause problems in life that are
not easy to surmount.
"I definitely identify with the character of Margot as a younger incarnation of myself. I think Margot was never able really to grow up, to grow past a stage where she felt acute isolation. And I think she kind of gave up trying to figure people out a long time ago and her power becomes other people trying to figure her out. And I think that stems from her relationship with Royal and always feeling unwanted and completely on the outside.
"And Royal makes it clear that his love is unattainable.. .I think that we always try to act out what we haven't come to terms wit a out our parents, so of course the situation exists with Margot and her brother that they are in love with each other—and that too is unattainable," she says. "Everything resonates beautifully."
Ben Stiller seemed like the natural choice for Chas Tenenbaum.
"Ben was one of the first people we heard from when we made 'Bottle Rocket,"' Anderson says. "He loved Owen in it, and he and Owen became good friends. He was really
"The anger in this character seemed like something Ben could really run with," he says.
Mendel agrees that Stiller excels at the "angst-ridden" element of the part. "Ben knows how to play that very well, where his character takes everything that is happening to him very seriously, but we can laugh at what the character is going through. I think that he is a very under- appreciated dramatic actor and that he gets a chance to show his stuff here."
"I thought the script was incredibly emotional. I had never read anything like it, and I really connected to the
father/son theme," Stiller says. "I like those kinds of stories. But I thought this story was unique, a weird and original amalg am of New York. Having grown up in New York, I understood that this wasn't the real New York. But Wes had created this special world, and I felt really connected to it.
"Chas is really angry, so my challenge was, how do I make it clear that he's angry - so angry that he has no problem telling Royal what he thinks of him - but still make it so that the audience can connect with him on some level. If he's just angry, angry, angr
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