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10 Highlights From Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and More at the ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Press Conference in Berlin

10 Highlights From Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and More at the 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Press Conference in Berlin

Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opened up the 64th Berlin International Film Festival this evening in Berlin, and its truly epic cast was on hand to celebrate with him. Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and Tony Revolori all joined Anderson at the film’s Berlinale press conference, and as you can imagine — it was a grand ol’ time. Here’s 10 highlights:

Bill Murray on how Wes Anderson keeps getting these great casts together: “We are promised very long hours and low wages. And stale bread. That’s pretty much it. It’s this crazy thing where you’re asked to come and work very long hours and you lose money on the job. Because you end up spending more in tips than you earn on the movie. But you get to see the world, and we allow Wes to live this wonderful, magical life where his dreamscape comes true. If we show up, he gets to have all the fun. And I guess it’s because we like him that we go along with this.”

Wes Anderson on the films they watched on set for inspiration: “We had a number of films that we would all watch together. We had a little library of movies where we filmed. We had some Lubitsch movies. We had ‘The Grand Hotel’ and ‘To Be or Not To Be’ and ‘The Good Fairy,’ with Margaret Sullavan. What else? We had ‘Love Me Tonight.’ And ‘The Silence’ — the Bergman film. Which is in its own invented country in Eastern Europe with train scenes and hotel scenes. ‘The Mortal Storm,’ the Frank Borzage film with the great Frank Morgan.”

Tilda Swinton on how she achieved the look of her (very old) character: “Madame D is what I look like when I don’t put on all this makeup. I am very, very, very old.”

Saorise Ronan on what she gained from the experience of making the film: “It was wonderful. I was very excited to work with everyone. I remember when the script was sent to me by Wes, I thought it was joke. I thought maybe it was a Wes Anderson impersonator. But it was actually him. That was the most exciting thing for me. To be involved in a film he’s making because I’m such a big fan of his. And for me, I only worked for about two weeks and most of my stuff was with Tony and Ralph. And that was wonderful because I respect them both very, very much. But the great thing about it was that even though we had this huge ensemble cast and we all had these separate pieces within this one story, we would come together every night and have dinner and go out together. Because we were in this tiny little town, we spent a lot of time together. That was lovely.”

Edward Norton on wearing tight uniforms in both “Budapest” and “Moonrise Kingdom”: “I think Wes just likes tight trousers and epaulettes on a man, and I’m happy to wear them for him.”

Tilda Swinton on coming back to the Berlin Film Festival: “The Berlinale is such a precious place for me. I came here first with the first film I ever made. Which was a film I made with Derek Jarman called ‘Caravaggio.’ And it was not only the first film I ever made but it was the first film festival I ever came to. And it founded my relationship with cinema on a practical level. I met filmmakers here immediately. People who I worked with immediately from that first film festival. It’s like my sort of battery charger, cinematically, the Berlinale. And it’s gone on being that in all these different ways. I keep asking Dieter Kosslick if I can come and clean sometime because I’ve done almost everything else here. And I’m really proud to be here at this table and tomorrow we’re going to be showing Bong Joon-Ho’s — in my opinion — masterpiece “Snowpiercer.” To come to this family affair with these two families is… I can’t really describe it. It’s always a homecoming, but it develops. So I’m just thrilled to be here. It’s full of friends for me.”

Bill Murray on his long-standing working relationship with Wes Anderson: “Well, the romance is gone. I’m a grizzled veteran, I guess. I think sometimes in the jobs I represent something like that. I’m just handy in that respect. But I’ve really enjoyed the jobs. [Equipment falls in the back of the press conference room] Was that gunfire?

Ralph Fiennes on what made him take the role: “Well, I was sent an amazing screenplay written by Wes that was unlike anything else I’d ever read. The first time he sent it he asked, ‘What part would you like to play?’ And I said, ‘That one, please!’ I’ve admired Wes’s films like many people, and I responded to him and his spirit. And I needed his guidance. He’s written the film and he hears it very particularly. And of course, we see from the films how beautifully constructed and designed and conceived they are. So to be part of that — with such a fantastic cast… As an acting experience, it was fantastic.”

Wes Anderson on why he wanted Ralph to take the role: “One thing I have observed over the years is that one of the best ways to get an actor to not want to be in your film is to offer them a part. Often people say, ‘I like all the other roles.’ We actually had written this part with Ralph in mind. I actually don’t know of anyone else who could play it. For a variety of reasons, but the main one being that this character is quite grand and theatrical and has to recite poetry… And the crucial thing to me is that he be a real person. And I’d wanted to work with Ralph in the abstract anyway, but I thought that this is the person who will make this a real man.”

Tilda Swinton on taking “a small role” in the film: “It was a trip. It was a small role because
Wes didn’t want any more. Ralph and I would have very happily fleshed
out the entire sexual peccadillo that went through decades between
Madame D and Mr. Gustav. We are hoping for a prequel. But size is not everything…”

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