Behind the scenes gallery and a collection of quotes for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
“Each time I start (a new movie), I feel like I’m doing a completely different thing. We go to a different country. We have a whole different kind of story. I feel like everything I’m doing is different from what I’ve done before.” – Wes Anderson, from an interview with New York Times writer David Carr
For anyone familiar with Wes Anderson’s fastidious creations, the above quote will seem patently absurd. Very few directors in the history of the medium have a recurring style and thematic preoccupations as easily identifiable as Anderson’s, enough so that his oeuvre lends itself to both Saturday Night Live spoofs and supercuts about obsessive center framing. (continue reading)
Any single image from Anderson’s latest The Grand Budapest Hotel, which went into wide release last week, is unmistakably the work of its maker. Though leaping across three eras, the film largely takes place in the 1930s and tells the story of a concierge (Anderson newbie Ralph Fiennes) and his trusted lobby boy (Tony Revolori) at a posh pre-war European hotel who become embroiled in a caper when one of Fiennes’ elderly lovers bequeaths him a priceless painting.
Below is a collection of quotes about the film’s creation from an array of its creators as well as an extended gallery of behind the scenes production stills. Click on any of the sources to check out an interview in its entirety.
Wes Anderson on how his latest film was inspired by the work of Austrian author Stefan Zweig.
“The first (Zweig book) I read was Beware of Pity (1939)…I loved his voice and that book was just a favorite of mine. Then I read more of (his) fiction and I kept seeing this device of somebody would meet somebody else in some setting. Sometimes they’re away from where they live and they meet some mysterious person, and then eventually some things happen, and eventually that person says, “Well I could tell you my story if you wanted to hear it.” And that’s the thing. That’s the novel. That’s the story. But also, I read The World of Yesterday, his memoir which is kind of a portrait. The most memorable thing to me perhaps in it is his description of the Vienna before 1914 and the Europe before 1914 and what it meant to him and what he thought he was participating in, and how suddenly and radically it changed and was just obliterated over the continuing years, first nationalism and then these movements of fascism and socialism, and how they played out in front of him. His account of that became a kind of backdrop to me for what our story could be, even though our story really has nothing to do with it. The actual story in our movie is not really related to any Zweig story, but it’s that stuff.” – from Movies Online
Wes Anderson on the movies of the 1930s that inspired The Grand Budapest Hotel.
“There are [Ernst] Lubitsch movies, Trouble in Paradise, and movies that were set in Eastern Europe but made in Burbank or Culver City or something, but directed by people from Odessa or Warsaw or Berlin. The Shop Around the Corner is (set) in Budapest and To Be or Not To Be is in Poland and there’s one called Love Me Tonight, that’s Rouben Mamoulian… And then there’s other movies, like there’s one called The Mortal Storm; Frank Borzage is the director. And Grand Hotel. We brought them all to Germany with us, and we had them, and the actors would watch them. We had a little library of movies that are connected to our movie somehow. Also, the Hitchcock movies of the ‘30s were a pretty good inspiration for us. We stole things from these pretty liberally.” – from Time
Graphic designer Annie Atkins on researching the design elements of the titular location.
“(Production Designer) Adam (Stockhausen) said when I first started that every graphic should be based on a real artifact from the period. We would look up hundreds of references, and Wes would pick out things that he liked and then we’d work from there. He might start with an official document from 1930s Germany, and then say, ‘Okay, now let’s try that again, but this time with pink…’ It means you’re working within a world that you recognize from history, and yet you’re completely enveloped in this gorgeous, heightened world also.”– from Nylon Mag
Director of Photography Robert Yeoman on shooting the film’s 1930s-set action in the square-ish 1.37:1 aspect ratio, which was largely abandoned in the 1950s in favor of widescreen as the studios tried to differentiate their content from television.
“This aspect ratio opens up some interesting composition possibilities; we often gave people a lot more headroom than is customary. A two-shot tends to be a little wider than the same shot in anamorphic (widescreen). It was a format I’d never used before on a movie, and it was a fun departure. You can get accustomed to (the new standard aspect ratios of) 1.85:1 or 2.40:1 to the point that the shots become more predictable.” – from the March issue of American Cinematographer
The Grand Budapest Hotel was shot entirely in Germany, with the hotel interiors filmed in an abandoned department store in the town of Gorlitz near the Polish border and the miniatures work photographed at Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam. Here’s Yeoman on how the department store set ended up serving multiple functions.
“We found an old abandoned department store that had a beautiful skylight at the top, and Wes just fell in love with the space and felt like he could transform this into his hotel. It also served as a lot of different sets for us as well. The top floor became the center for the production offices, wardrobe and art department. We were pretty self-contained so it was a very efficient place for us to shoot.” – From Kodak
Click on any pic below for a larger image or to start the slide show.