Playing the mother hen of a clan of eggheads in Wes Anderson's new feature, The Royal Tenenbaums (opening Dec. 14 in select cities), could have driven Anjelica Huston out of her own gourd. Not only were her screen kinfolk all played by Tinseltown VIPs among them, venerable veteran Gene Hackman and hot properties Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow but, for principal shooting, the lot of 'em were squeezed into a cramped Harlem pad that hardly would have accommodated one jumbo-sized ego.
Luckily, Huston tells TV Guide Online, "it was very much like a family. When you're all packed into this little house with a green room the size of a table, you'd better get along like family!"
Mind you, Huston doesn't necessarily advocate getting along like her own famous clan. Growing up, she frequently found herself at odds with her father, the estimable director John Huston. In fact, Dad once went so far as to ask fellow filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli not to give teenage Anjelica the female lead in his Romeo and Juliet adaptation so that, instead, he could cast her in his own picture, A Walk with Love and Death.
"I wasn't that crazy about the idea of working with my father, just because he was my father," she recalls. "We ended up doing this movie, and it wasn't a very good experience for either of us.
"He was quite an authoritarian with me, particularly at that age," she continues, "and there were a lot of problems in communication."Of course, even Huston probably would concede that, in the end, everything is relative: Sixteen years later, Pop steered his little girl to an Academy Award victory for Prizzi's Honor.