Illustration by ALEX FINE
Wes Anderson‘s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, begins with an author looking back on his work, explaining how he came to write a book about a hotel. The film has a story within a story within a story — but most of it is set in the late 1930s in the fictional central European country of Zobrowka on the eve of war. Ralph Fiennes stars as the concierge of the elegant resort. He makes sure everything is just so, but as the movie progresses and the plot thickens, his confectionary world is violated by fascism, by police who think he committed a murder and by a greedy family looking to cut him out of a will. Along the way, Anderson pays tribute to war films, prison break movies and screwball comedies. Anderson’s other films include The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. He tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about telling his first historical fiction story and how the film’s set came together. MORE
Wes Anderson + Ralph Fiennes + David Carr
THE FILM STAGE: We always welcome a glimpse inside the mind of Wes Anderson and with his new film around the corner, we’re afforded a great many opportunities to do so. Perhaps the most extensive discussion we’ll get is a recent TimesTalk between a candid David Carr — often admitting he is naive about the filmmaking process — and The Grand Budapest Hotel director, along with his star, Ralph Fiennes.
Opening up with Anderson admitting it’s rare for him to have a plot in a film, with his latest being an exception, he also discusses how he doesn’t like to cut. ”I hate to cut because you risk breaking the spell,” he remarks, adding that he often will say, “still rolling!” to his cast, even when he’s clearly not. He also discusses directing with Fiennes, who is coming off his first two features, as well why he felt it was OK to ask A-list actors to contribute bit parts to the features.
Perhaps most intriguing is his idea about a James Bond Film. When asked by Carr why he never does the “one for them, one for me” method, he says, “They go to Sam Mendes; they didn’t go to me. I had this [Bond movie] I wanted to do called Mission: Deferred. This was a few years ago. James Bond. The cold war is over, and there’s no gig … and the gadgetry is like he has a great coffee machine. … So I never got the call.” MORE
RELATED: On March 7th, I will be the first in line when Wes Anderson’s newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, arrives in theatres. I’m still entranced by the amazingness that is Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom from 2012, and by the looks of the Budapest trailer, Anderson’s fans are in for a hilarious and beautiful treat once again. The world that Anderson has created is clearly a magnus opus of style and substance, but how did Anderson pay for it? As a set designer in movies myself, I can verify it takes millions of dollars of production value to make a film like The Grand Budapest Hotel, something which producer Steven Rales knows very well himself. Rales (born 1951) is chairman of Danaher Corporation, a huge multinational company specializing in a wide-reaching conglomerate focusing on medical and industrial technologies, professional instrumentation and Craftsman hand tools., and he also has a huge passion for movies. To explore his love of film, in 2006 Rales founded the Santa Monica-based production company Indian Paintbrush. With his Indian Paintbrush arm, Rales has been an enormous supporter of Wes Anderson and his unique vision, and is a close friend as well. Rales has financed such Anderson masterworks as The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and together they will bring even more brilliant stories and wonderful worlds to the silver screen for years to come. Steven Rales is listed as the 118th richest person in America, with a net worth of $3.4 billion. VARIETY writes: “Notoriously press-shy, Rales is nevertheless highly regarded in the finance and industry worlds, celebrated for his strategy and his discipline.” MORE