Wes Anderson: What I've Learned

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' director gives Esquire his life lessons

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I've never been to Savile Row. You've got to really dish out the spinach when you go into those shops; I think you could get a reasonably nice car for what a Savile Row suit costs.

Where do I get my suits? A place called Mr Ned on Lower Fifth Avenue in New York. I wouldn't have to go in for a single fitting at Mr Ned because he's got all my measurements.

I don't want to betray his confidence by saying how much he charges. For all I know he's giving me a very good rate.

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I read my own reviews sometimes. I really try not to because I've learned over the years that even though a good review is nice for a moment, the bad feeling you might get from a negative review is actually much worse. In the end, it all just kind of blurs together.

I don't have any jogging trousers, but, you know, I don't jog.

The most crucial thing to focus on if you want to be a director would be learning to write well. It must be so hard finding material, and if you have a great script, that's the best recipe.

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I would like to not think that I drink too much. It's possible. There's quite a bit of wine. I don't smoke or gamble, so maybe that helps balance it out.

I had nuclear holocaust nightmares fairly consistently for some period of time when I was a teenager. I doubt that was out of real anxiety about the end of the world. It was probably a metaphor.

I find the Airbus A380 fascinating, oddly. The idea of a two-storey aeroplane is, like a little village or an ocean liner, quite striking to me. I would like to be in it, but I just couldn't be stone-cold sober.

I have some nostalgia for a time that I've never lived in, which is 1965 or 1938 or something like that. I kind of like the old-fashioned world.

Most of my ties were gifts. That's a good area to keep open as they're easy to buy.

I grew up in Houston, Texas. ZZ Top were huge, but I can't say they were one of my favourites.

We did see one of the ZZ Top guys in a movie theatre when we were kids and he was quite nice to us. I believe it was Billy Gibbons, the guitar player.

I liked The Police. I got into them around Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity, when they were at their very most popular. I wasn't in there early.

You can get clothes made pretty cheap in India. I got some pyjamas monogrammed there, but I don't think that's something this particular seamstress was skilled in, so the lettering was very peculiar.

I have a phobia of flying, which is maybe somewhat rational. I actually love aeroplanes and I sometimes like being in a plane, but I need to be drugged.

Like Mr T in The A-Team? A bit. Mr T is out cold, which would be fine also, but I can be just more mildly drugged.

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I mean, heavily drugged but not fully sedated. Xanax is really the one that's served me best. Otherwise, I'm just not going to get on the plane. I don't get panicky about it. In fact, because I'm drugged, I usually kind of enjoy the whole experience.

My parents got divorced when I was seven or eight. My father did the same thing that everybody else does: try to convince you that this isn't going to be some total disaster because kids just feel like their whole world is going to end.

I remember that I didn't want anybody to know. In the end, especially in those days, it had become the norm for half the families that we knew. Even so, you'd love it if you could get skipped over for that one.

London has become one of the best places to go to restaurants anywhere in the world in recent years. That seems to have happened pretty suddenly. It's not cheap.

Philosophy was my major subject at university, but I never quite got into it. A lot of the stuff I didn't understand.

I'm a pretty good tipper. It depends on which country you're in. For example, French people who are good tippers don't compare to an American who thinks that you're supposed to leave 20 per cent.

In England, you often don't leave anything if it's included, right?

My real home is New York. I have an apartment in France, in Paris, and then my girlfriend also has her own place in the English countryside. That's in Kent.

I always thought I would love France just from movies. Paris is a place where you can turn a corner onto a block that you've never been down before and it's just entertainment right there.

The atmosphere of being in that city is not like any other place; to go and buy a loaf of bread is an adventure. I'd like to be able to speak French, which I can't. I'd like to be able to learn that with no effort whatsoever.

We did have discussions with Nicolas Cage for one of my films. He can be brilliant but he wasn't able to do it in the end. Which film? I don't want to go into that because then it makes it seem like the person who did do it was second choice.

I'm from a vaguely religious family. One was meant to believe in God, and I went to schools where we had to go to chapel but that's sort of faded away, I guess.

I first saw Star Wars when it came out in 1977. Which character in the film did I most strongly identify with? Luke Skywalker. While some people might steer towards Han Solo, I just went for the guy that they're telling me I'm supposed to want to be.

I haven't seen that movie in so long, and I don't want to see what's happened to it.

You can only respect George Lucas's wishes because he invented this whole thing, and it's all from his mind, but I do feel that there's something to be said for preserving the films rather than renovating them.

I've had movies of my own where I've thought about how I would recut them, but I'm not inclined to do that. It's just too late to change things.

I like arriving somewhere unfamiliar and settling in; I like finishing a part of my work and starting on the next part, or finishing a whole project and having a rest. I'm probably at my happiest at the beginning of a new chapter.

Do I ever play golf with Bill Murray? No. I've never been asked.

Photo credit: Benjamin McMahon 

This feature is taken from Esquire's Spring/ Summer 2014 Big Black Book. In stores now, or buy from iTunes here. 

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