In an early scene in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the oceanographic filmmaker of the title (Bill Murray) is busy at work on his latest feature. As his camera operator, Klaus (Willem Dafoe), films him, Zissou lectures about a swarm of electric jellyfish washed to shore, glowing on the sand in the dark of evening. Ned (Owen Wilson), meanwhile, a young aviator who may or may not be Zissou’s long-lost son, operates the boom mic. Although he knows little about filmmaking, Ned nevertheless attempts to earn his stripes as part of Zissou’s crew by ad-libbing a question for the camera. He asks Zissou about the cause of the jellyfish’s illumination, wondering whether their glow is produced by a special kind of chemical. Zissou—taken aback by this improvisation in his carefully staged “documentary”—tells Ned that the jellyfish are not lit from within, but rather glow because of the reflection of the moonlight on their outer membranes. Recognizing the creativity of Ned’s contribution to the scene, Zissou then asks Ned if he might like to “officially” join the Team Zissou filmmaking crew.
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