Wes Anderson on the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
With his new THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL opening today, I recently had the chance to chat with Wes Anderson on the phone.
As much as he seem to set the listicle/charticle culture on fire, with a seemingly endless string of pieces looking to draw connections between all his films, Anderson sees them differently.
"To me each one is just a completely new ball of wax, if I’m using that expression properly. I’m not really using that expression properly. But anyway, you get the idea," he said.
"I just don’t know what doesn’t keep them distinctive," he added. "I know often people see my movies linked to each other, which I totally understand why they see that, but for me I’m just doing a completely different story. I make no effort to make them anything like each other. I just do ‘em the way I like to do ‘em."
As to the fact he is an unexpectedly controversial figure, Anderson expressed some mix of annoyance and bewilderment. He nevertheless has not time for haters.
"What is there to say? Would I want to modify my work based on somebody telling me they’re annoyed by it? It would be ludicrous, I think," he said. "You know, these movies are my life."
[Photo is an outtake from a recent portrait session by the LA Times’ own Jay Clendenin.]
Jeff Goldblum, Ralph Fiennes, Bob Balaban, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Tony Revolori, Harvey Keitel, Adrien Brody and
Waris Ahluwalia at the ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ premiere at Alice Tully Hall on February 26, 2014 in New York City.
Director Wes Anderson attends ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ premiere at Alice Tully Hall on February 26, 2014 in New York City.
On set with Wes Anderson: Lea Seydoux and the kitchen crew prep.
Photograph by Martin Scali; W magazine March 2014.
“What color would you say that is?” asks Jeff Goldblum while peering at the flecked remnants of polish on my horribly bitten nails. “Would you say that’s silver?” he asks. “I believe it’s more of a periwinkle,” I reply, hiding my embarrassment with an awkward chortle. It’s an odd introduction to the actor, but one perfectly befitting for the subject we’re about to discuss—the meticulously-detailed and frosting-coated Europe-on-the brink-of-destruction caper story, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. And as no stranger to the wonder world of Wes, Goldblum knows the delicate intricacy of the beloved auteur’s worlds, and with the actor’s bizarre and ever-fascinating talents, always knows just how to inhabit them with the most pleasurable ease.
Having last worked with Anderson on The Life Aquatic a decade ago, Goldblum now appears in The Grand Budapest Hotel as Deputy Kovacs—a lawyer presiding over Madame D.’s last will and testament. Set in a fictionalized European country on edge of World War II, Anderson’s Budapest Hotel gives you all the confectionary aesthetic delights that we’ve come to anticipate from him, as well as the melancholy interpersonal conflicts and frenetic excitement of his past work—yet feels steeped in a deeper sense of disillusionment with the state of the world than we’ve become accustomed to seeing in Wes’ films. There’s a boldness and necessity towards the sharper edge of the cake knife that comes with setting the film in a time when the world was on the precipice of despairing chaos, and it’s all the more wonderful for it.
Last week, I sat down with Goldblum to chat about the experience of bring The Grand Budapest Hotel to life, palling around the hotel with the sprawling cast of characters, and the magic of Wes Anderson.
Wes Anderson photographed in London last month