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RUSHMORE

Introduction

"Rushmore" is the second feature film from director Wes Anderson. Like his first film, "Bottle Rocket," "Rushmore" is based on an original script by Anderson and his writing partner Owen Wilson (who also starred in "Bottle Rocket").

The setting for the film was inspired by Anderson and Wilson's common experiences at schools in their home towns of Houston and Dallas, respectively. (The film was shot at Sr. John's in Houston, where Anderson went to school.) But the key to the story for the writers was the idea of Max Fischer.

"I like people who get obsessed with something," says Owen Wilson. "For example, I'm nor that interested in chess but I'm really interested in Bobby Fischer because he's just kind of obsessed with chess. There's something funny about those kinds of characters. These people don't have the self-awareness of how they're coming across to others and how kind of strange they are."

Anderson expands on this idea: "Max Fischer wants to be considered an expert in every conceivable field. He wants to run the whole operation. And he does not allow the fact that he is not very skilled in most of these areas to dampen his enthusiasm or prevent him from trying to dominate all of them."

This kind of pathological resilience particularly applies to Max's pursuit of Miss Cross, which eventually drives him over the edge. Anderson adds, "The reality is there's something wrong with him. But, in this case, it's a condition I tend to admire."

The plays that Max puts on in the story were inspired by some of Anderson's earliest t efforts. "My parents were getting divorced when . was in fourth grade. I guess I wasn't dealing with it very well, and I was making some trouble. I had this teacher who made a deal with me that every two weeks that I could keep it together and not be a disciplinary problem, she would let me put on a play-because she knew I liked to write plays. So I got to kind of create a little program for myself, and I kept it going for several years. And we put on these big crowd pleasers that were very influenced by movies and TV shows. We did one called 'The Five Mazeratis' that was set on the Autobahn. And we did one on the battle of the Alamo, and I played Davy Crockett. And we did a King Kong play, and a lot of murder mysteries, and a kind of loose adaptation of 'The Headless Horseman' where the Headless Horseman was the hero. I always reserved the best parts for myself, because that was probably the only reason I was writing the plays in the first place.

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