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By Heather Wadowski | December 28, 2001

Whoever said that staying close to your friends and family was impossible once you become a successful actor? Owen Wilson has done it. The 33 year-old Texas-native may have been a bit shy about living in the City of Angels at first, but over the past few years he’s discovered one of the key ingredients to success — staying true to who you are.
Wilson, who is probably best known for his roles in Shanghai Noon and The Haunting, broke into Hollywood in 1994 with the short film “Bottle Rocket” alongside his two brothers, Andrew and Luke Wilson, and writer/director Wes Anderson. Two years later, Wilson and Anderson developed the short script to “Bottle Rocket” and made it a critically acclaimed feature-length film. The movie won numerous awards, including Best Filmmaker (Anderson) at the MTV Movie Awards and a special award for Wilson at the Lone Star Film and Television Awards. Its success paved the way for not only Anderson as a filmmaker, but also for Owen Wilson as an actor and a writer.
Although after “Bottle Rocket” Wilson appeared in such huge blockbusters as Armageddon and alongside such notable actors as Jim Carrey in “The Cable Guy,” he didn’t start making waves in Hollywood again until he teamed up with Anderson to co-write the critically adored Rushmore. Despite the film winning over a dozen awards at film festivals though, it failed to receive an Oscar (actor Bill Murray did, however, win a Golden Globe for his performance). He also took quite a risk playing a charming serial killer in the film festival favorite The Minus Man. Now, three years later, Wilson and Anderson are teaming up once again to hopefully get the Oscar that many say Rushmore was overlooked for with their latest black comedy, The Royal Tenenbaums.
The Royal Tenenbaums features a family of overachievers that slowly crumbles when the father, Royal Tenenbaum (played by Gene Hackman), walks out on them. Years later, when he decides that it is time to re-enter their lives, Royal manipulates his way back into the Tenenbaum family by lying and telling them he only has a few months to live. While Wilson’s character, Eli Cash, isn’t a Tenenbaum (Wilson plays the best friend of his brother Luke’s character and the fading love interest of Gwyneth Paltrow’s character), Wilson says that he had enough on his hands simply co-writing the script.
When I caught up with Wilson at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills back in November, he was ready not only to discuss what it was like writing and co-starring in The Royal Tenenbaums, but also what it was like playing an action hero in Beyond Enemy Lines. As drastically different as the two films are, they do have one thing in common that Wilson says drew him to work on both projects — Academy Award winning actor Gene Hackman…
Get the interview in part two of OWEN WILSON UNLIMITED>>>

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