Last week, I saw the latest movie by Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel, and I enjoyed spending an hour and a half in another mythical place. I don’t know who wouldn’t want to live in a winter wonderland on the side of a mountain, riding toy-like funiculars up and down snowy hills, every need attended to by a French concierge and assorted bell hops as an odd murder mystery takes place safely in the background. I can easily put myself in the place of a writer seeking refuge in a hotel past its prime—writing under a man’s name until I rebel and change my name from Andre to Andrea—while recovering from a debilitating melancholia. The writer in the movie is played by two actors—Jude Law and Tom Wilkinson. The actors who will play in both phases of my life over two visits, Catherine Deneuve and Bjork.
Two years ago, I slipped into life in Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, and the family of Suzy Bishop who somewhat reminded me of myself at the age of 12 until she develops a relationship with the orphan Sam Shakusky, an escapee from Camp Ivanhoe. In my fantasy, there on the island of New Penzance, I will be an author writing under the name of Anastasia Duras and live in an isolated cottage working on the follow up to my cult blockbuster, A Life Remote. After a brief and intense affaire de coeurwith Captain Duffy Sharp, played by Bruce Willis, I will choose celibacy and a hobby rescuing small wildlife. I will ignore the wandering children, Suzi and Sam, acting out what one seemingly superior observer told me is a replay of Peter Pan and Wendy without the magic and flying. My part will be played by Tina Fey when Kate Blanchett declines.
Finally, in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, I will join the family that I’ve always wanted to belong to. As Debbie Tenenbaum, I have three protégé siblings, one adopted, who struggle with an adulthood that doesn’t deliver on its early promise. Oh, to live in the house on Archer Avenue bought by my father Royal in the winter of his 35th year, have the noted author and anthropologist Etheline Tenenbaum as a mother, and enjoy the inspiration of two brothers and an adopted sister’s tumultuous lives. No one talks about Debbie, likely due to her lack of talent in her early years, her late teenage affair with neighbor Eli Cash, and the thinly veiled family saga she wrote that achieved limited success. Since Gwyneth Paltrow already filled the role of Margo, Debbie will be inhabited by Lena Dunham.