If you think Saoirse Ronan and Tony Revolori make a cute couple on screen, canoodling as baker’s daughter Agatha and “lobby boy” Zero in Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” you should get a load of the youthful pair in person. Meeting me and a handful of other journalists in a hotel in Berlin, where “Grand Budapest” both opened the 64th Berlinale and picked up the festival’s Silver Bear, Ronan and Revolori alternately praised and chided each other without pause, as if enacting a cheerier, junior spin on “The War of the Roses.” When not finishing each other’s sentences, the co-stars—who joined the likes of Bill Murray and Ralph Fiennes in an inn during their Görlitz, Germany shoot—playfully called each other out on their snafus, like that time Ronan wasn’t ready for a going-away party, or that time Revolori really wasn’t so sad he beat out his brother for his role.
It’s particularly interesting to see Ronan match wits with a first-time young actor, considering the Oscar nominee, 19, is only two years Revolori’s senior, but has become one of the most tireless and revered talents of her generation. (If nothing else, their even-keeled rapport speaks well for Revolori’s future.) But enough of that foo-foo crap. It’s time to talk about binge TV.
On “Breaking Bad”:
Saoirse Ronan: Tony loves “Breaking Bad.” He finished “Breaking Bad” in a week.
Tony Revolori: It’s true. All the time, on set, I heard Wes and Saoirse saying, “‘Breaking Bad!’ ‘Breaking Bad!'” And I had one week off so I’m like, “Click! Netflix!” I think Saul’s the best character.
Saoirse Ronan: Saul? Better call Saul! I love Saul, but I don’t know how I feel about the spin-off. I was very content with how the show ended. And I didn’t cry during the finale!
Tony Revolori: I did. But I always cry during any show’s finale, so…
On whether or not they get emotional watching their own work:
Saoirse Ronan: I have cried before. I don’t like watching anything that I’m in, but I did cry watching “Grand Budapest,” at the end, when it cuts to F. Murray Abraham, from the left, and he’s talking about Agatha. That really made me quite sad.
Tony Revolori: You know, Wes wouldn’t let me see anything else he was shooting except that scene.
Saoirse Ronan: Because he wanted you to understand how much he loves her!
Tony Revolori: Yeah. And the scene with me and Ralph when he breaks out of prison was moving. It was a great scene when we shooting, and we practiced it quite a bit, because it’s the moment when things change from protege and teacher to brothers-in-arms.
On what we didn’t see of Zero and Agatha’s romance:
Saoirse Ronan: The childbirth scene, perhaps? Ha! I wonder what our kid looked like. A little Wes—a little tanned Wes.
Tony Revolori: A tanned Wes, huh?
Saoirse Ronan: And Agatha’s death. That was two years after the wedding, right?
Tony Revolori: No, I heard it was two years after Ralph’s character’s death. That’s what I remember Wes telling me.
Saoirse Ronan: It was two years after all that stuff happened. You know what you’re talking about.
On the expectations of being first-timers on a Wes Anderson project:
Tony Revolori: I’d seen most of his films—”The Darjeeling Limited,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Royal Tenenbaums.” And now I’ve seen them all. And I was expecting something special, but he kind of took it to a whole new level, and I don’t think anyone could’ve expected what happened being as big as what it was. But, then, the script was so amazing, and everything was so detailed, you could kind of picture it.
Saoirse Ronan: Yeah, and we saw all of the animatics, and he pieced it all together, and he had a storyboard for almost every single shot in the entire film. And he voiced all the characters himself.
Tony Revolori: So you would see the scene of me giving Agatha the note, and you’d see the drawing of me going in and out of frame, and Wes is voicing it all. It was amazing and very helpful.
Saoirse Ronan: And he drew all the storyboards?
Tony Revolori: No. The storyboard artist was someone else.
On getting down the rhythm of Wes Anderson dialogue:
Tony Revolori: There are very many beats to it, so…
Saoirse Ronan: It was definitely Wes, though, who enforced that.
Tony Revolori: Yeah, but once you’ve been on set, and you’re shooting for a while, you kind of get into that rhythm yourself. You’re in that flow, and it’s actually tough to get back out. I remember when I went back home, after fuming and everything, I would still talk like that. And people made fun of me for a bit.
On behaving like a married couple off-camera:
Tony Revolori: There was a going-away party for an A.D. from the film, and Saoirse and I decided to go together. And it was just across the road, so Saoirse said, “Yeah, we’ll walk together! Just give me five minutes, I’ll be right down.” Thirty minutes later, I’m still downstairs waiting.
Saoirse Ronan: I think I was on the phone, though. Or I had to have a shower or something.
Tony Revolori: See, you didn’t tell me that.
Saoirse Ronan: I thought you were just gonna go over and I’d meet you. Please, it was across the road—I would’ve gone over to meet you.
Tony Revolori: I did go over, and you were like, “Why’d you leave me? I thought we were walking together!”
Saoirse Ronan: I remember…a version of that story. Jesus.
On Tony beating out his brother for his role:
Tony Revolori: As the character is from the Middle East, Wes had been searching there first, and then in Europe and the U.K. He looked in the U.S. last. And my brother and I went into the audition after this open call, and we both went in and read for that. Two weeks later, we get a callback saying “It’s just you two. You’re the final ones.” So we were very excited. And then, four days after that, I got the part. My brother Mario and I have both been acting since we were very young, so we have this healthy competition where we push ourselves.
Saoirse Ronan: Healthy. Sure.
Tony Revolori: I swear! But it was great. He was very happy for me, and I would have been very happy for him.
Saoirse Ronan: No, you wouldn’t.
Tony Revolori: No, I wouldn’t.
On Saoirse’s character having a tattoo of Mexico on her face:
Saoirse Ronan: That took, at most, like a minute to do. It was just a tattoo transfer thing that they use all the time. And they obviously had them specially made because I’m sure most people wouldn’t want a birthmark in the shape of Mexico on their face.
Tony Revolori: I wouldn’t mind it.
Saoirse Ronan: I did. Someone asked me, “Was it your idea to have Mexico on your face, or was that Wes’s idea?” And I was like, “What do you think?”
On their favorite Wes Anderson films:
Tony Revolori: My favorite Wes Anderson movie is “The Darjeeling Limited,” because I have two other brothers, and I just feel that connection so well. All of his films have something so great and unique about them, that I don’t know how I would be if I don’t like them. I wouldn’t be me. My personality is his sensibility.
Saoirse Ronan: I love “Bottle Rocket,” his first film. I love how disorganized that one is, when he compared to his other films. And I had asked him about it, and he said it was like that to shoot as well. And then from then on, he decided to be very strict in the way he shot films. I thought that was really interesting. I love “The Royal Tenenbaums” too. All of his films make you cry, make you laugh, make you squirm, and make you hopeful. I don’t know how he’s able to retain that balance, but he’s a master at it.
On what it was like staying at the hotel they shared with the cast:
Tony Revolori: I saw Jude Law in track pants running. He had these bright purple and blue pants, just jogging with these great headphones on.
Saoirse Ronan: Classic Jude.
Tony Revolori: He’d be running while rocking the music, and then he’d see me and go, “Heeeyyyy!” And then just keep running. And I’d be like, “That was Jude Law running. Great. Okay.”
Saoirse Ronan: I loved being the only girl, actually. I feel like I’m used to being the only kid, not necessarily the only girl. And we had a good few female crew members, so that helped. I became friends with them. Tilda left. She was only there for about two days and left the day that I got there.
On who they geeked out with from the cast:
Saoirse Ronan: Jeff [Goldblum]. Jeff is a good one to geek out with.
Tony Revolori: Oh my god, he was so great. We had talks about “Jurassic Park,” and “Independence Day.” Jeff has this great thing where he tries to memorize the name of everyone in the crew. He and I would play a game whenever we’re on set, and be like, “Ahh…who’s that? Alex? Okay.” He was great. And then there’s F. Murray Abraham. My dad’s favorite movie is “Amadeus,” so my dad was totally freaking out. And of course Bill Murray.
Saoirse Ronan: Bill Murray is the best man in the universe.
Tony Revolori: You know he threatened to push my dad into a pool?
Saoirse Ronan: I’m sure he did. Not surprised at all. He’s a nutcase. In the best way.