A new subreddit, Accidental Wes Anderson, has sprouted as an homage to the director. The subreddit is a treasure trove of photographs that look like they belong in a Wes Anderson movie, but the buildings weren't built by a set designer. They're all found in life.
Wes Anderson's locations scout might as well be out of a job. The internet has done such a great job of compiling locations that could have served as the exteriors for The Royal Tenenbaums or The Grand Budapest Hotel. Cities from all across the globe are represented in this stunning subreddit.
Wes Anderson has a distinct style as a director. Anderson is known for his use of bright colors, symmetry, and whimsy. These real-life locations all capture a sense of all three - especially the whimsy.
When Anderson made The Grand Budapest Hotel, the director had to visit five different locations to find the titular hotel. The film takes place in the fictitious country of "Zubrowka" but was ultimately shot in Germany. Now, thanks to Reddit, Anderson's work has gotten a little easier!
The thread was started when moderator Simon Sarris found a 1955 photo of Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander of Austria “Someone commented along the lines of, ‘this looks like it’s out of a Wes Anderson movie'…It stayed small for weeks, then one morning it suddenly exploded in popularity,” said Sarris.
Sarris notes the role that color plays in the Wes Anderson-like nature of the photographs. “They are not at all color palettes you’d find today…That’s partly why finding such a scene in real life is so interesting,” says Sarris. “Wes Anderson in black and white would not at all be the same, though still recognizable."
On the thread, Sarris delineates what to look for in Wes Anserson-esque photo. "Simple/meaningful color palette," "Symmetry/order," and a "Healthy balance of foreground and background" are all qualities that make the real life photos match the movies. Sarris does emphasize that "sets/items/people from the movies" are not qualities that make something accidentally Wes Anderson.
Accidental Wes Anderson has been growing in popularity. The thread has more than 37,000 members. Additionally, one of the most popular posts has received over 22,000 upvotes. Long story short, people want to see the world turned into a Wes Anderson movie!
Many of the photos found in "Accidental Wes Anderson" are from Europe. The director hails from Texas. However, New York Magazine has noted, "there is something distinctively European in his obsession with aesthetics."
Anderson has a reputation for being concerned about the minutia of his shots, a reputation that Anderson denies. "I wouldn't say that I'm particularly bothered or obsessed with detail," says Anderson. Still, you can't deny the craftsmanship the filmmaker puts into every frame.
Anderson has been using a shot composition called "planimetric staging" in all of his films since The Royal Tenenbaums. Planimetric staging "involves placing the camera at a 90 degree angle with the subject of the shot." Stanley Kubrick and Jean-Luc Godard were also fans of the technique.
Anderson's affections for certain styles of shots has earned the filmmaker more than his fair share of criticism, a fact that he is aware of. "I want to try not to repeat myself. But then I seem to do it continuously in my films," says Anderson. "I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters. But every decision I make is how to bring those characters forward."
Anderson is well-aware that he has his own style and has been leaning into his own brand. "I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets. There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do," says Anderson. "It's sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I've made the decision: I'm going to write in my own handwriting."
Pretty soon there will be more Anderson-spiration for Reddit. Currently, the filmmaker is in production on Isle of Dogs, which is his second stop-motion animation film. Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Scarlet Johansson and Tilda Swinton will all be lending their voices to the film.