Exclusive: Connie Nielsen looks back on small role in Rushmore
Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman 1984) has had a large and widely-varied career, initially breaking out around the turn of the millennium, but one of her smaller appearances can be seen in Wes Anderson’s 1998 dramedy Rushmore. While chatting with the star for her latest film, the sci-fi horror pic Sea Fever, ComingSoon.net reflected back on her brief role in Anderson’s breakout hit.
On her decision to sign to the film, which came around the time of her Hollywood breakout, Nielsen revealed that the decision to take the bit part came from her desire to work with the still up-and-coming Anderson after his directorial debut two years prior.
“I was just such a fan of his and I just said, ‘You know, I’ll do anything in your film. You’re such a cool and interesting, different filmmaker,’” Nielsen recalled. “And when he asked me if I would do it, I just said, ‘Of course.’ Bottle Rocket had a hit, and I just loved it.”
When reflecting on her time working with then-unknown Jason Schwartzman (The French Dispatch), she found that “he was so cute” and she really appreciated his shy nature, given it was his feature debut.
“He was so nervous, and I just remember telling him, ‘Oh you know, just have fun with it,’” Nielsen said. “He was so brilliant, he was so good at it. He used the nervousness to compliment the character, I thought it was great. Great work, he’s such a quirky and cool, cool actor.”
Rushmore, directed by Anderson from a script he co-wrote with frequent collaborator Owen Wilson (Loki), followed eccentric teenager Max Fischer (Schwartzman) and his friendship with rich industrialist Herman Blume (Bill Murray, Zombieland: Double Tap) and their love for elementary school teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams, Counterpart). It was a modest box office success upon its 1998 release, grossing $19.1 million on an estimated $10 million budget and was widely acclaimed by critics, helping launch the careers of Anderson and Schwartzman and earning Murray a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
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