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Wes Anderson serves up a slice of Americana pie with little love story By Richard Crouse Metro Canada June 12, 2012

movie_-_Moonrise-KingdomWes Anderson’s new movie is a slice of Americana. Moonrise Kingdom, which opened the Cannes film festival this year, is chock-a-block with Norman Rockwell-isms about small town life.

So it is interesting that the films that helped inspire his story of 12-year-old paramours Suzy and Sam would have all been classified as world cinema.

On the line from London the director calls François Truffaut’s Small Change, the story of kids growing up in a French provincial town, as “a great movie and a favourite of mine, and the movie that led me to start thinking about doing something with children as the leads.”

He also cites a little-known English movie set in 1750 as a key film while he was “working on the script, looking for inspirations to help propel a story about a romance between characters of this age.”

“I had never heard of the great Ken Loach film called Black Jack,” he says. “I was just in a video store in London and I saw the very beautiful cover. I didn’t really know Ken Loach’s work that well. I read the description and I absolutely loved the movie. Black Jack really made a huge impression on me, and inspired some things in the movie.”

The next step was to cast the movie. “We had a bunch of adult roles but none of them are great big roles, and even though we ended up with some movie stars [like Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Ed Norton] in there, I knew the movie would be on the shoulders of these two kids.”

After auditioning thousands of children he discovered two unknowns, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman.

“Eventually somebody comes in and the search is over,” he says. “There is a flash of lightening and there it is. That’s what happened with each of these.

Jared, he says, won the role because, “he made me laugh the way he looked but it was the combination of his appearance and his interview with the casting director that really entertained me and charmed me. His voice, his manner and his enthusiasm were all very winning.”

Kara impressed with “her reading of the scene. It sounded to me as if she was inventing the lines spontaneously right there. That’s a very unusual thing to feel from a child actor reading cold, something they’ve never seen before.”

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