Entertainment Magazine

THE LIFE AQUATIC with Steve Zissou

Opens: December 10, 2004

About the Production

“We’re all a pack of strays — don’t you get it?” — Steve Zissou

In his fourth and most ambitious film to date, director Wes Anderson sets out on a highseas adventure comedy, spinning the tale of a washed-up oceanographer (Academy Award ® nominee BILL MURRAY) in search of love, revenge and a drop of redemption in his ultimate aquatic quest.

Plying the waters as only Anderson could, THE LIFE AQUATIC with Steve Zissou embarks on a journey into a realm of pirates, islands and deadly jaguar sharks—and into a maelstrom of human yearning set adrift. Meet Steve Zissou: legendary underwater explorer, notorious blow-hard, and a man known around the globe for his documentaries about the teeming life beneath the deep blue sea. These days, however, life on land isn’t going so smoothly for Zissou.

His best friend and long-time partner, Esteban, was recently consumed by a ravenous jaguar shark. Rumors are starting to spread that he’s losing his touch. And now, out of the blue, comes a genuine Southern gentleman and Air Kentucky co-pilot named Ned Plimpton (OWEN WILSON) who claims he might, or might not, be the long-lost son Steve never got to know.

Imperious, egotistical and endearingly off-course, Steve Zissou is now ready to make his most epic film to date—the one in which he will wage vengeance on the jaguar shark, become the father he never thought he could be, and regain some fleeting sense of his own nobility.

Setting sail on his boat, The Belafonte, Zissou assembles a crew that also includes: Jane Winslett-Richardson (CATE BLANCHETT), a mysteriously pregnant journalist covering the story of the expedition; Eleanor Zissou (ANJELICA HUSTON), Zissou’s brilliant wife and Vice President of The Zissou Society; adoring German engineer, Klaus Daimler (WILLEM DAFOE); Zissou’s arch nemesis and rival oceanographer, Alistair Hennessey (JEFF GOLDBLUM); Zissou’s septagenarian producer, Oseary Drakoulias (MICHAEL GAMBON); physicist and original score composer, Vladimir Wolodarsky (NOAH TAYLOR); the bond company stooge, Bill Ubell (BUD CORT); Pelé dos Santos (SEU JORGE), the Brazilian Safety Expert who regularly serenades the team with haunting Portuguese renditions of David Bowie songs.

The rest of Team Zissou includes perennially topless script girl AnneMarie Sakowitz (ROBYN COHEN); cameraman Vikram Ray (WARIS AHLUWALIA); frogman Bobby Ogata (NEILS KOIZUMI) and editor and sound man Renzo Pietro (PAWEL WDOWCZAK).

In addition to assembling an accomplished ensemble cast, Wes Anderson brings aboard a talented team of artists to create the fantastical ocean-going world of THE LIFE AQUATIC, with surreal sea creatures designed in classic stop-motion by award-winning animator Henry Selick (director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach”); cinematography by Robert Yeoman (“Drugstore Cowboy,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Rushmore”); production design by Mark Friedberg (“Far From Heaven,” “The Ice Storm”); art direction by Stefano Maria Ortolani (“Angels in America,” “Gangs of New York”); costume design by two-time Academy Award ®winner Milena Canonero (“Chariots of Fire,” “Barry Lyndon,” “Dick Tracy,” “Out of Africa”) and original music by Mark Mothersbaugh. The film was shot on location in Italy, including at Rome’s famed Cinecitta Studios.

Touchstone Pictures presents an American Empirical Picture, THE LIFE AQUATIC with Steve Zissou, directed by Wes Anderson from a screenplay written by Anderson and Noah Baumbach. The producers are Anderson, Barry Mendel and Scott Rudin. Rudd Simmons is the executive producer and Enzo Sisti is the co-producer.

Next: Movie Production Notes: Meet the Team

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