Ben Stiller wrote a letter to Owen Wilson saying he loved 'Bottle Rocket' before the pair ever met.

The two Hollywood comedy actors have appeared together in 13 films, including 'Zoolander' and 'Night at the Museum', but before they met Stiller felt compelled to contact Wilson to tell him how much he loved his debut movie - which he co-wrote with Wes Anderson.

Speaking to the Metro newspaper, Wilson, 48, said: ''I first met Ben when I auditioned for him for 'Cable Guy'. But before that he'd written me this really nice letter to say how much he had loved 'Bottle Rocket', which I co-star with Wes Anderson. And that meant a great deal because no one had gone to see 'Bottle Rocket'.''

Explaining how the crime-comedy - which also starred Owen's brother Luke Wilson - was brought to the big screen by producer James L Brooks, he added: ''James L Brooks was a big mentor for me. He was the one who produced our first movie 'Bottle Rocket'. He brought me and Wes Anderson and my brothers Luke and Andrew out to Los Angeles and got the studio to green-light the movie and let us act in it because we were all beginners, and let Wes direct, because he had never directed before.

''I am aware just how much I benefited from people helping me, so when friends call and say they have a kid looking for a summer job I will always try to help.''

Although they enjoy a great working relationship, Wilson, 48, insists he and Stiller, 51, have very different approaches to making movies.

The 'Cars 3' star explained: ''I am always nervous on the first couple days of shooting a film and Ben is always open, always encouraging new ideas. We tend to laugh at the same things: our own shortcomings and failures and those of other people.''