With his third feature film, Wes Anderson achieves the biggest financial success of his career: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). And despite collaborating with actor James Caan in his early days bottle rocket (1996) and Bill Murray in its 1998 follow-up Rushmorethe movie at your fingertips featured by far its most impressive cast to date.
Many creatives had multiple tasks when it came to The Royal Tenenbaums. For example, Wes Anderson was the director, but he also co-wrote the screenplay. The other scriptwriter was none other than Anderson’s longtime friend and collaborator Owen Wilson, who also showed up inside the film with a supporting role like Eli Cash. One of the film’s most memorable characters.
But Eric Chase Anderson — the director’s brother, obviously — did so much behind-the-scenes work that you could say much of the film’s charm stemmed directly from his mind. Of course, most of that credit goes to Wes, and then Owen after him, but Eric also held several positions when it came to the production of his brother’s third directorial outing that are often overlooked. And it was far from the first time he had given his brother a creative hand.
Who is Eric Chase Anderson?
Three years younger than his brother, Eric was born and raised in Houston, Texas. While Wes was obviously their family’s writer, Eric claimed the title of illustrator. He has also done acting and writing during his time in the professional block, but most of his talents are in his drawings.
In terms of individual accomplishments, Eric Chase Anderson wrote an opinion piece in the early 2000s on the Randy “Duke” Cunningham case, which was later published in the New York Times. Additionally, his illustrations have appeared in famous magazines and newspapers like Time and The New York Observer. However, most of Eric’s professional journey revolves around behind-the-scenes collaborations with his famous brother Wes.
He designed the covers for the Criterion Collection releases of four of his brother’s films: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Aquatic Life With Steve Zissou (2004), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007). He also designed maps and other artwork included in Criterion releases. Additionally, he appeared in several cameo roles throughout Wes’ career, such as an architect in Rushmoremedical student at The Royal Tenenbaumsand a pilot in Aquatic Life With Steve Zissou. He also had a voice role in the 2009 stop-motion animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), while his last cameo in his brother’s filmography came with Moonrise Kingdom (2012).
Contributions of Eric Chase Anderson to the Royal Tenenbaums
Besides appearing as a background character on screen, Eric Chase Anderson had a few other key roles in the production of The Royal Tenenbaums. In the plot, the three Tenenbaum children – Richie played by Luke Wilson, Chas played by Ben Stiller, and Margot played by Gwyneth Paltrow – were considered prodigies in their respective trades, with other idiosyncratic hobbies to boot.
Chas, for example, was a business whiz who, at a young age, raised a unique breed of Dalmatian mice, then started buying real estate as a teenager. The adopted child of the group, Margot, won a $50,000 playwriting scholarship in ninth grade. And before this age, the third child Richie was already a tennis champion. He turned professional at 17 and also dabbled for many years as a painter. This is where Eric Chase Anderson comes in.
Again, Anderson’s lesser-known brother is primarily an illustrator in his professional life, though he also occasionally shows up as minor characters in Wes’ films. But here with The Royal Tenenbaums, he was commissioned to draw every piece of art done by Luke Wilson’s character, Richie. It doesn’t seem like too daunting a task at first, but considering the sheer volume of paintings on show in Richie’s studio and on his bedroom walls, it gets pretty daunting.
However, that wasn’t the only work given to Eric Chase Anderson when it came to general production and set design, as he also made detailed maps of every room in the Tenenbaum household before filming. The production and set designers were able to use the maps as a sort of guide to fulfilling Wes Anderson’s vision, and ultimately, Eric’s work facilitated several memorable scenes and sets.
The yellow tent pitched in Richie’s old studio, the tiny hallway closet filled to the brim with board games since the trio were children, and even their old bedrooms – these spaces created endlessly endearing settings in the Tenenbaum household. Ultimately, work like this and the illustration of Richie’s many artworks aren’t the most notable works to surface in cinema, but Eric Chase Anderson has also shown up in a starring role. ‘actor. Technically speaking, he had more to do than anyone else when it came to The Royal Tenenbaums.