Meet Kris Moran: The Mastermind Behind Wes Anderson's Iconic Sets
The woman behind iconic films such as ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,’ ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ and more.
Wes Anderson’s movie sets are the stuff of dreams – perfect symmetry, pastel tones and whimsical nostalgia. Known as The Wes Anderson Effect, the custom backdrops of the director’s films play an integral role in the atmosphere and narrative that lays out the story’s tone. Enter Kris Moran, the woman behind some of Anderson’s most memorable and elaborate sets. Meticulously planned and constructed, Moran was the mastermind at the helm of the prop department for some of the director’s most distinguished films such as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom and Darjeeling Limited, just to name a few.
After her first motion picture gig on the set of The Good Son starring Macaulay Culkin, Kris went on to work as assistant prop master for the renowned Anderson classic, The Royal Tenenbaums. Thanks to a shared passion for uncompromising detail paired with a boundless amount of hard work, the pair have created a perfect partnership that will hopefully lead to plenty more visually stunning movies. You can read an excerpt from the interview with Kris Moran and can head to Racked to see the full feature.
“Whenever I think of The Royal Tenenbaums, I just see that pink. I remember there was a lot of conversation about the kids’ room. They had a lot of wall paintings, and the carpeting in that room was some zig-zag, green and white or something. But I think [Anderson's storyboards] got more specific than that,” said Moran.
When choosing the pieces that went into each room, Moran often draws inspiration from her own lived experiences, something she refers to as her “fearless instinct.” As a child of the ‘70s she noticed certain things — the color of a rotary telephone or the shagginess of a carpet. And that aesthetic comes across in her work.
Now, when she’s buying things to put into a home on set, her decisions are based more on the characters than a set of typical kitchen goods.
“When I’m putting a set together, I often have to buy everything that person bought in their whole life in three weeks,” said Moran. “You’re trying to represent all of those layers and history, and you have to buy it all at one time. You have to figure out what they would throw away, what they would keep.”