Wrap Shot: The Royal Tenenbaums

“I prefer anamorphic because
I like using the whole negative.
It’s a very elegant frame, particularly
when you’re dealing with several
actors in one shot.” 
— Robert Yeoman, ASC

In the January 2002 AC article “Intellectual Angst,” director Wes Anderson and cinematographer Robert Yeoman, ASC discussed their longtime collaboration, their pairing on the droll familial comedy-drama The Royal Tenenbaums, and their mutual affinity for shooting in the widescreen anamorphic format.

“Bob has shot all of my films, and we’re very in sync,” Anderson told interviewer Jon Silberg. “He knows what I’m interested in, and we come from a similar school of thinking in terms of lighting. Bottle Rocket was very austere in its look. We shot that with spherical lenses and made an effort to make it almost monochromatic, with only a few bursts of primary colors. Rushmore was a widescreen movie that was more lush and used richer colors. The Royal Tenenbaums continues in that direction and goes quite a bit further.”

Yeoman offered, “I prefer anamorphic because I like using the whole negative. It’s a very elegant frame, particularly when you’re dealing with several actors in one shot. One thing I like about shooting anamorphic is that you can have a few characters all together and still be very close to them, which helps you avoid a cut.”

Anderson added, “There are many shots in The Royal Tenenbaums where there’s one person in the dead center of the frame with other things in the room that are sort of arranged into the edges. And then there are shots with about nine people arranged in the frame. You can just make a greater variety of staging work in widescreen.”

The filmmakers’ 8th feature together, The French Dispatch, is tentatively scheduled to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021.


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