Wes Anderson’s beloved 2014 Oscar winner “The Grand Budapest Hotel” arrived on The Criterion Collection this week with 25 minutes of animated storyboards narrated by the filmmaker himself. Polygon exclusively debuted the first of six animated storyboard sequences: “Introduction,” “Washer Woman,” “Killing of Kovacs,” “Prison Escape,” “Gabelmeister’s Peak,” and “Hotel Show-Down.” The clip below brings the beginning of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” to life through Anderson’s hand-drawn graphics and provides an early look at how the filmmaker envisioned the various shots and camera movements that would kick off his period comedy-drama. The result is a barebones, black-and-white animated version of a Wes Anderson movie.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” was released in March 2014 by Searchlight Pictures and became his highest grossing movie worldwide with $172.9 million. The movie went on to earn nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. “Grand Budapest” won the Oscars for Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design. The cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and then-newcomer Tony Revolori.
Anderson supervised a 2K digital transfer of the movie for the Criterion Collection release and joined Goldblum and frequent collaborator Roman Coppola to provide new audio commentary for the movie. In addition to the animated storyboards, the Criterion release includes a new behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film, video essays on the project from critic Matt Zoller Seitz and film scholar David Bordwell, newly released cast and crew interviews, and two new essays by film critic Richard Brody.
The “Grand Budapest” Criterion debut arrives ahead of the release of Anderson’s next live-action project, “The French Dispatch.” Searchlight is once again handling distribution and pushed back the film’s theatrical opening from July to October 16. Several actors in the “Grand Budapest” ensemble have reunited with Anderson for “The French Dispatch,” which is Anderson’s first anthology project. The movie brings to life three news articles written by a fictional American news magazine stationed in France.
Check out Criterion’s animated “Grand Budapest” storyboards in the video below. The film is available to own on Criterion now.