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Some facts about Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums:

  • The BB shown lodged in Ben Stiller’s character Chas’s hand is not Stiller’s, but Andrew Wilson’s (brother of Luke and Owen Wilson).
  • The original Mordecai was kidnapped and held for ransom during shooting. This is the reason for the bird’s white feathers at the end of the film: it is an entirely different bird.
  • The cigarettes Margot smokes throughout the film were discontinued in 1970 and only sold previously in Ireland. This coincides with the overall theme of the ’70s.
  • Gene Hackman was apprehensive about accepting his role as Royal Tenenbaum, as he feared he had paralleled Royal’s actions in his own life.
  • Richie punching through the window during his conversation with Raleigh about Margot was completely improvised by Luke Wilson. The scene then cuts quickly, as director Wes Anderson feared Wilson had seriously injured himself.
  • Wes Anderson and Andrew Wilson provided the commentary during Richie’s tennis match.
  • The “dalmatian mice” were really white mice with spots painted with Sharpee pen. 
  • A majority of the movie was filmed in New York; however, Wes Anderson took great care in avoiding any major landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty. At times, he even placed actors in front of the landmarks to hide them from view.
  • A friend of Anderson’s in college, Brian Tenenbaum, cameos as a paramedic. His sister’s name is Margot Tenenbaum.
  • Gene Wilder turned down a role in the film due to his retirement.
  • Etheline Tenenbaum is loosely based off of Wes Anderson’s mother. Her actual glasses are worn by Anjelica Huston.
  • Margot’s missing finger was originally written for character Margaret Yang in Rushmore.
  • Huston and Hackman rejected their roles until more character development was written into the film.
  • The character Henry Sherman was named after Anderson’s landlord and his look was modeled after Kofi Annan (a UN Secretary General).
  • The Royal Tenenbaums was the first film of Anderson’s not shot in Texas.
  • Many characters of the film were based off of Director of Photography Robert Yeoman’s brother-in-law’s family.
  • The Royal Tenenbaums was Rex Robbins’ final film appearance before his death in 2003.
  • Chas’s son, Ari, is named after singer Nico’s son. Two of her songs are featured in the film, “These Days” and “The Fairest of Seasons”.
  • Wes Anderson uses many of The Rolling Stones songs in his films. The Royal Tenenbaums includes “She Smiled Sweetly” and “Ruby Tuesday” from the “Between the Buttons” album.
  • The “Queen Helena” ship featured in the movie is really the Queen Elizabeth 2, the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean in scheduled liner service.

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The bird was freaking held for RANSOM? All of this just makes this already strange and wonderful movie even stranger and better.

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