wes anderson right directs benedict cumberbatch left and ben kingsley in the wonderful story of henry sugar 1

Wes Anderson States “I Don’t Have an Aesthetic”

Prominent American filmmaker Wes Anderson explains why he thinks he lacks a distinct artistic style.

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Prominent American filmmaker Wes Anderson explains why he thinks he lacks a distinct artistic style.


From the viral TikTok trend and the AI-generated trailers to our own breakdown of this filmmaker’s distinctive visual elements, Wes Anderson undeniably possesses a highly specific visual style. Nonetheless, the auteur director maintains that he doesn’t believe he possesses an aesthetic.

During a recent interview with Deadline, Anderson explained that what sets his work apart is his deliberate approach to filming sequences in a manner that deviates from the norm. He emphasized that he views his style not as an aesthetic but as a continuously evolving creative invention, adapting with each new project.

“In Bottle Rocket, I was working with what I had at the time, and that was my ‘aesthetic,'” Anderson noted. “However, this ‘aesthetic’ changes with each new endeavor. Each subsequent movie is heavily influenced by elements we explored in the one that preceded it. For instance, people often mention my use of dolly shots, and Asteroid City opens with an extensive one, a journey from one location to another. It’s a particular way of filming sequences that isn’t typical for everyone, and I incorporate it frequently.”

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The origins of Anderson’s trademark dolly shot trace back to Bottle Rocket when he faced the challenge of a waterlogged baseball field on the day of filming. Adapting creatively, he decided to shoot the scene between home plate and third base, positioning everything to face a single dugout. “When I first tried it, I thought, ‘Well, I liked that. That was interesting and enjoyable.’ So, I’ve continued to explore variations of it ever since—because the baseball field was too wet,” Anderson recounted.

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With each new project he embarks upon, Anderson introduces fresh elements into his creative approach. Whether it involves delving into stop motion, experimenting with animatics, or constructing versatile sets that can disassemble and reassemble, Anderson consistently sets out to challenge himself and expand his visual style.

As Anderson articulated in the interview, “Frequently, I find that’s how the evolution happens when you’re working on films. You discover something you enjoy, repeat it with slight variations, and then decide, ‘Alright, it’s time to explore a different path.'”

While outsiders may perceive Anderson as possessing a distinct aesthetic, he views his visual style as an organic evolution, shaped by the ongoing process of filmmaking. He maintains a preferred method of shooting but remains open to pushing his creative boundaries, adapting to the unique challenges that arise on each set.

Anderson’s readiness to experiment with novel ideas and styles underscores the dynamic nature of his work, akin to how one’s own creative journey should continually progress when producing films, commercials, music videos, or TV shows. The message here is clear: resist confining yourself to a creative corner that inhibits growth, and never restrain your imagination, as it could potentially stifle your creative prowess. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that having an aesthetic isn’t inherently limiting; rather, it signifies a profound understanding of one’s preferences and a mastery of achieving a particular visual identity—an organic outcome of being a skilled storyteller.

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