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About The Characters

"Rushmore stars newcomer Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer. Finding an actor to play Max was the filmmakers' biggest challenge. Schwartzman was cast after a nine-month search which utilized fourteen casting directors in the United States, Canada and England, and in which 1,800 candidates for the role were seen. Director Anderson recalls meeting Schwartzman for the first time. "I knew right away that he was the one, and we shut down the search."

Bill Murray is famous for making people laugh. But, over the course of his career, he has also played a number of unusual dramatic roles. While his performance as Mr. Blume is often comedic, he draws on his considerable depth as an actor, and gives a unique performance-as funny as it is painful, odd, quiet, and real. Producer Barry Mendel admired Murray's "unsentimental" acting style. "He does a tremendous amount with very little. If you just watch his eyes, you can understand his entire story. What this performance tells us is that we've only begun to scratch the surface of what Bill can do as an actor."

First grade teacher Miss Cross is played by Royal shakespeare Company alumnus Olivia Williams whose appearance in "Rushmore" marks her second film.

Mason Gamble plays Dirk Calloway, Max's fourth grade chapel partner and protege. Gamble refers to Dirk as Max's conscience. The young actor says, "Wes told me to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I watched it, and he said, 'OK. You're Linus."'

Academy Award-nominee Seymour Cassel plays Bert Fischer, Max's father. Cassel describes his character as being "the opposite of Max, much more reserved, but he encourages his son to be who he wants to be, or who he thinks he wants to be. He just loves him a lot and allows him to experiment with life."

Acclaimed actor Brian Cox plays Dr. Guggenheim. Cox describes him: "I am the headmaster of Rushmore Academy, and I have the misfortune of having to deal with a young man called Max Fischer, who, deep down, wants my job. He is my nemesis, and I am his. But we cannot help but respect one another as formidable enemies.

Sara Tanaka, a student at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, auditioned in New York and was cast as Margaret Yang, a student at Grover Cleveland High School. "At first, she comes off as sweet," Tanaka says, "but there's more to her than meets the eye. She's the mature one in the movie."

Stephen McCole's agent sent his audition tape from Glasgow, Scotland. He was immediately cast as Magnus Buchan, a post-graduate foreign exchange student with half his ear missing. He torments Max and others at the school for his own sadistic pleasure. McCole describes his character as 'a slightly disturbed person."

Real-life brothers Ronnie and Keith McCawley play Blume's unbearable twin sons Ronny and Donny. Casting director Mary Gail Art: sported the pair in a video store in Los Angeles, where they were fighting with one another. Anderson says, "It's what's known as typecasting.'

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