With no less than five members of the Wilson family involved, The Wendell Baker Story is truly a family affair. Actor brothers Owen, Luke and Andrew Wilson have been in the business since the mid-1990s and have collaborated on quite a few films during their careers. In 1996, Owen and Luke made their acting debut in Wes Anderson’s first feature film Bottle Rocket. Co-penned by Owen and Wes Anderson, the film was based on a short they’d made three years earlier and also featured Andrew in a small role.
After Bottle Rocket, the brothers Wilson would collaborate with Wes Anderson again on Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Outside of the world of Wes Anderson, the brothers have appeared in many other films together. Prior to making The Wendell Baker Story, Andrew and Owen were in both The Big Bounce and Zoolander together. Charlie’s Angels and its sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle featured Andrew and Luke and Around The World In 80 Days starred Luke and Owen as brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright.
But The Wendell Baker Story is the biggest Wilson family collaboration to date. Co-directed by Andrew and Luke - who also penned the script and produced - this 2005 comedy stars Luke as the titular Wendell Baker, a kind-hearted ex-con who gets a job in a retirement home after being released from prison. There he meets cruel head nurse Neil (Owen Wilson) and discovers he’s running a scheme to scam the residents out of their social security and Medicare payments. Together with residents Skip (Harry Dean Stanton, Alien), Boyd (Seymour Cassell) and Nasher (Kris Kristofferson), Wendell sets out to expose Neil’s wrongdoings.
The brothers aren’t the only Wilson family members among the cast and crew of The Wendell Baker Story either. Their mother Laura Wilson was the set photographer and their uncle Joe had an uncredited bit part as a convict, who was dubbed the film’s ‘Director of Special Operations’. Even Luke’s dog – who, funnily enough, was called Brother – had a part as Wendell’s pet dog Junior.
Since The Wendell Baker Story, the brothers Wilson have continued to collaborate with each other. The year after The Wendell Baker Story was released, Luke and Andrew appeared in Idiocracy together and in 2013 Luke and Owen collaborated in an episode of Drunk History playing the inventors of cornflakes John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg. Most recently, Owen and Andrew both had roles in the 2017 comedy Father Figures.