Wes Anderson and McDormand Disagree If Her ‘French Dispatch’ Character Slept with Chalamet’s

·2 min read

Editor’s Note: This story contains mild spoilers for Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch.”

One of the many plot twists in Wes Anderson’s sprawling love letter to ex-pat journalism, “The French Dispatch,” is the romantic relationship between the characters played by Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. In the film, McDormand plays journalist Lucinda Krementz, who’s reporting on a student protest breaking out in the streets of Ennui that soon erupts into a “Chessboard Revolution.” Despite her journalistic standards, Lucinda has a brief romance with Zeffirelli, played by Chalamet, and helps the revolutionary pen his manifesto.

More from IndieWire

However, according to McDormand in a new interview in The New York Times featuring the film’s sprawling cast, she and her writer/director disagreed on the precise nature of her relationship with Zeffirelli.

“I told Wes that I felt strongly that [her character] Krementz and Zeffirelli [a revolutionary played by Timothée Chalamet] did NOT have sexual relations,” McDormand said. “Wes was very diplomatic with me, but did not agree. He asked me not to share my thoughts on this with Timothée. However, I did.”

McDormand said that “Timothée’s reaction was basically, ‘Huh.'” She added that “your differing opinions didn’t seem to change the outcome: Wes was able to convey his choice by having the sound of creaking bedsprings over a shot outside Krementz’s bedroom door. I think it works.”

McDormand also starred in Wes Anderson’s 2012 “Moonrise Kingdom.” As is tradition on any Anderson film, his revolving cast works like a company of theater actors who return time and again to populate his unique vision. “I show up because Wes keeps asking — I love his movies,” McDormand said.

She said that to prepare for the role, “Wes suggested I read [the short story writer] Mavis Gallant’s work. Which I did and enjoyed very much. Lo and behold, a friend of mine was a dear friend of hers in Paris and the executor of her will. My depiction is based on a photo that Wes gave me of Mavis Gallant, photos my friend showed me of her smoking cigarettes and typing and of time I spent with Lillian Ross years ago.”

“The French Dispatch” is now in theaters from Searchlight Pictures.

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.