Mid-spring, Wes Anderson-inspired clips monopolized TikTok. Amateur filmmakers imitated Anderson’s distinct cinematic style with exaggerated color palettes, visual equilibrium and quirky title sequences.

Despite valiant efforts from rookie moviemakers, their TikTok clips were missing something as markedly Anderson as his deadpan — his recurring cast of all-stars.

Anderson’s newest film, “Asteroid City,” landed in theaters last weekend, complete with the usual suspects: Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Willem Dafoe.

He introduced a few familiar faces to his star-packed lineup such as Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks, but that did not hide the obvious absence of Bill Murray and the Wilson brothers (Owen, Luke and Andrew).

Anderson is known for repeatedly casting a short list of actors. Murray, Schwartzman and Wilson have made more than half a dozen appearances in the director’s films — and he loyally writes them into his scripts.

“I always write with Bill in mind,” Anderson told Rolling Stone of Murray, who has now appeared in 10 of his films.

“Asteroid City,” which boasts a ridiculously star-studded cast of Anderson first-timers (Margot Robbie, Steve Carrell, Rita Wilson and Bryan Cranston, to name a few), received conflicting reviews from critics. Esquire called it “Anderson’s big-hearted masterpiece” while Vulture decided Anderson has “finally gone mad.”

As Anderson’s movies become more mainstream and attract hordes of A-list actors, he remains faithfully committed to the stars who showed an interest in him from the beginning of his career.

Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson were college roommates

Owen Wilson and Anderson met in 1989, during their sophomore year at the University of Texas at Austin, in a playwriting class. They hit it off. The pair bonded over their mutual love of directors such as John Cassavetes, Sam Peckinpah and Martin Scorsese. Soon after, they became roommates and discussed collaborating on a film, reports Interview Magazine.

Anderson’s first movie, “Bottle Rocket,” was inspired by a feud between the college roommates and their landlord, who refused to repair their window cranks.

To highlight the need for repairs, Anderson and Wilson devised a plan to stage a break-in of their own apartment. They removed a few items, messed up the place a little and called the police. Blame was placed on the damaged window cranks. Neither the police or their landlord took the break-in seriously. Anderson and Wilson resorted to skipping out on rent payments, per LA Weekly.

“We ended up moving in the middle of the night, and he hunted us down with a private investigator,” Anderson told LA Weekly.

The experience evolved into Anderson’s first feature film. He and Wilson wrote the script together, which began with a staged break-in and starred Wilson and his brother, Luke.

“When we had our first test screening and it was a disaster, I was just in shock,” Anderson told LA Weekly. “I had it in my mind that people were going to like it. I didn’t realize it was a strange movie that only certain people were going to like and a lot of people would hate. And that was the situation.”

Although “Bottle Rocket” was met with criticism, it attracted a cult following which paved the way for Anderson’s second feature film, “Rushmore,” and Wilson’s impressive career.

“Sometimes I stop and think how strange this all is,” Wilson told Texas Monthly. “Something that began as a little idea in Austin, that Wes and I just walked around talking about between ourselves, has turned into all this.” 

Bill Murray has appeared in nearly every Anderson film

Hollywood icon and funnyman Murray has appeared in every Anderson movie save his first, “Bottle Rocket.” He joined Anderson’s band of actors in “Rushmore” and has acted in nearly every Anderson film since. Murray often plays a leading role but sometimes he only makes brief cameos — such as the unnamed businessman missing his train in “The Darjeeling Limited.”

Anderson and Murray never met before their first film together, but Anderson boldly sent the “Rushmore” script to him anyway.

“I sent the script to Bill and had no idea what would happen after that,” Anderson told Rolling Stone in 2014. “One day I was in a Disney executive’s office, and they say Bill Murray is on the line; I had no idea how he even knew I was there. The Disney exec then had to leave his own office so that I could have a long conversation with Bill about the role.

“Our first day on set, we had a reading with Jason Schwartzman. … it didn’t go well at all. We beat ourselves up over whether we should change the dialogue, but Bill said that the dialogue is why he signed on.

“A day later, Bill took us out to a restaurant where we ate chicken-fried steak. After that, everything was fine. I like to think that he was great in the role — but beyond that, he was the godfather of that film.”

Murray saw potential in Anderson at the dawn of his career. He began collaborating with the now-legendary director when he was a “nobody practically, just a child out of Texas,” and appreciates how Anderson’s career “has rounded out,” Murray explained, per Searchlight Pictures.

Through making 10 films together, the pair have grown close and have a mutual admiration for each other.

“I love working with him, and I think he has fun, too,” Anderson told Vanity Fair. “There’s nobody better to have on a movie set than Bill Murray.” 

Jason Schwartzman embodies Anderson’s unique style

From the beginning of his career, Anderson was certain of a few things. He wanted to work with Owen Wilson, Murray and Schwartzman.

“As soon as Owen Wilson and I started making a movie, well, I wanted Owen to be involved with the other movies I would do. As soon as I had Bill Murray, I wanted him on the next one. I wanted Jason Schwartzman. It was natural to me,” Anderson told Rolling Stone.

Anderson provided Schwartzman with his film debut in his role as the overly-ambitious high schooler Max Fischer in “Rushmore.” He has starred in several of Anderson’s subsequent films such as “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Schwartzman met Anderson as a teenager.

“I was 17. He was the first person that wasn’t in my family and was over the age of 20 that actually asked me a question and cared what I said,” the actor recalled of meeting Anderson many years ago, per Vulture.

“He was curious about what I was interested in.”

Now, at 42, Schwartzman “has command of his craft and his medium” (Anderson’s words, per Vulture) and has experienced a fruitful acting career, much of which he owes to Anderson for jump-starting his career and continually writing Schwartzman into his scripts.

Anderson wrote the “Asteroid City” role of Augie Steenbeck, war photographer and widowed father, with Schwartzman in mind, reports GQ.

At first, Schwartzman was “nervous” about playing the role of Steenbeck. “When I read the script I was like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t think I’m there,’” he told GQ.

“It was him (Anderson) saying, ‘No, go for it, you can do that,’ that only comes from working with someone that you know so well that they can challenge you in a very loving way to move forward.”

“He has seen me at every version, basically, of me.”

Why is Bill Murray not in ‘Asteroid City’?

Although he was originally cast in “Asteroid City,” Murray dropped out before shooting began in Spain after coming down with COVID-19, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It is understood his character was recast as Steve Carrell.