Behind the Scenes: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), plus how the film nearly used Beatles covers by Elliott Smith
(Above) Owen Wilson (at the wheel), Gwyneth Paltrow (passenger seat) and Wes Anderson (relaxing in the trunk with his director’s monitor) on the set of The Royal Tenenbaums. The pic comes courtesy of the blog Discreet Charms & Obscure Objects.
The film originally opened with The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and closed with the band’s “I’m Looking Through You.” When Anderson was unable to obtain the rights to the songs, he enlisted the late Elliott Smith to record an ill-fated “Hey Jude” cover. Here’s Anderson, from an interview with Indiewire:
Paul McCartney had seen [‘Tenenbaums’] and he said yes [to granting the rights to the songs], but George Harrison was sick and dying. You had to get everybody to sign off and George was just not possible, no one was going to say, “Oh before you die could you please watch this movie and tell us whether we can use the music for it?” So then we got Elliott Smith….He did a version [of “Hey Jude”] but he wasn’t in a great mental or physical space at the time and it just was not a successful recording session. It was kind of a mess.