A who’s who of Wes Anderson’s most iconic characters

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  • Margot Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums)

    With her chic blonde bob, kohl-rimmed eyes and sandy-hued fur coat, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character Margot Tenenbaum in Anderson’s 2001 hit The Royal Tenenbaums is one of the most instantly recognisable – and imitated. As the adopted daughter of Royal and Etheline Tenenbaum (something that Royal likes to constantly remind her of) Margot is hungry for attention and affection from a young age, channeling her creative energies becoming a child prodigy, much like her non-adopted siblings, Richie (Luke Wilson) and Chas (Ben Stiller). From her secret marriages to her fake hand, her secretive smoking to her tryst with adopted brother Richie, Margot is the character we’re always rooting for.

  • Richie Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums)

    Margot’s adopted brother-turned-beau, Richie Tenenbaum (played by Luke Wilson) has had a crush on his ‘sister’ for their entire lives. A tennis pro whose career ended in shame after a breakdown on court (shown later to have been caused by Margot kissing her new husband, Raleigh St. Clair -played by Bill Murray – he’s a tortured soul, whose signature long hair, beard, headband and sunglasses evoke the stars of the 1970s. In one particularly memorable scene, he shaves his entire beard and head, while ‘Needle in the Hay’ by Elliott Smith plays.

  • Monsieur Gustave (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

    A truly scene-stealing role, Ralph Fiennes is effervescent as the roguish Monsieur Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel, almost looking as if he is about to break into laughter himself at some of his character’s more outrageous capers. As the famous manager of a glamorous, destination hotel, Monsieur Gustave is the king of his own little kingdom, that is, until his gold-digging exploits come to light and he is imprisoned. No walls can hold him, though, and it is his mad-cap adventures as he goes on the run that are the most entertaining. With an iconic purple uniform and silver-screen era style moustache and slicked backed hair, he is another instantly recognisable character.

  • Zero Moustafa (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

    Zero, or The Lobby Boy, as he is known, is the sweet-natured hero of The Grand Budapest Hotel, we see everything through his eyes. Devoted to his job, he hangs on every piece of advice from his boss, Monsieur Gustave, with his devotion knowing no bounds – he even dresses exactly like him, down to painting on his moustache every morning. As well as his career, he is also serious about his love interest, Agathe (played by Saoirse Ronan) a sweet baker’s girl with a scar on her face.

  • Suzy Bishop (Moonrise Kingdom)

    One of the most memorable scenes from this sweet tale of pre-teen love sees main characters Sam and Suzy meeting for the first time in the dressing room of their summer camp show. Sam asks Suzy, ‘what kind of bird are you?’ before she replies saying she’s a raven. The two fall in love, run away together, and hide from the pursuing search party, headed up by the likes of Bruce Willis and Edward Norton. Suzy’s scowl, Sixties-esque wardrobe and dance moves cast her as a young Margot Tenenbaum wannabe, and we are here for it.

  • Max Fischer (Rushmore)

    Jason Schwartzman’s breakout role was also Anderson’s directorial debut, with both going on to work together for the next few decades. It sees Schwartzman playing eccentric 15-year-old Max Fischer, a suited-and-booted, specs-wearing mini-adult, whose misguided self-belief knows no bounds. Full to the brim with ideas about how to improve his school, he’s your typical precocious know-it-all. But his life is thrown into turmoil when his friend Herman Blume (a grumpy, lonely parent and wealthy industrialist played by Bill Murray) falls for the same teacher as him, forcing them to become love rivals, with predictably hilarious results.

  • Steve Zissou (Aquatic Life of Steve Zissou)

    Although considered one of the less strong of Anderson’s oeuvre, there are still some things to recommend the Aquatic Life of Steve Zissou, not least the eponymous man himself, played by the director’s frequent collaborator, Bill Murray. The film sees Steve, an oceanographer, putting together a crack team to hunt down a mysterious shark, one who supposedly killed his wife. Why? To exact revenge, of course. Played with the dead-pan tone Murray is known for, it’s the shining light in an otherwise lukewarm offering.

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