Ralph Fiennes, popularly known as the dreaded ‘Lord Voldemort’ in the highly-successful “Harry Potter” films will soon be seen in Ayala Cinema’s exclusive, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” directed, produced and written by Wes Anderson, one of the most unique and sought-after filmmakers working in the film industry to-date.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars; and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting; a raging battle for an enormous family fortune; and the sweetest confection of a love affair – all against the backdrop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent. The film also brings together the most talented of actors including newcomer Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson.
Anderson set his tale in a fictional spa town in the imaginary country of alpine Zubrowka, for which he created not only a complete visual aesthetic but also a cohesive 20th Century history mirroring Eastern Europe, with a fascist takeover in the thirties and a Communist period after that –but also a more distant past in the vein of the belle epoque.
Anderson wrote the part of Monsieur Gustave H, the fastidious concierge at the heart of the film, with one actor in mind: Ralph Fiennes, a two-time Oscar® nominee for “Schindler’s List” and “The English Patient.” “The idea that Ralph was going to play this character enriched it completely,” says Dawson. “He just disappears into that persona until you simply say, ‘that’s Monsieur Gustave.’”
Fiennes immersed himself fully into the character’s many contradictions. “Gustave is insecure, vain and needy, as it says in the script, but he’s also a very fastidious man who has a strong sense of principle rooted in this idea of how you look after people,” the actor observes.
He especially enjoyed Gustave’s paternal relationship with young Zero, whom he selects as a potential protégé in the never-ending battle against the coarseness of the world. “To Gustave, Zero is an innocent, inexperienced in the ways of the world and in need of instruction. But they ultimately become equal brothers-in-arms,” notes Fiennes.
Fiennes was inspired by his first collaboration with Anderson, who, he notes, has a way of seeing the world that is one-of-a-kind. “With “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes has created a true caper comedy with disguises and chases and escapes, yet there’s always that bittersweet undertone that is so distinctive,” he says. “His films always have this idiosyncratic lightness of touch inside which lie strong themes and emotions. It’s an unusual blend that no one else can repeat because it comes from inside Wes, from his personal sense of humor and perception of the world.”
He continues: “Wes is exacting with his actors in a very positive way. He’s always refining a moment until it has just the right feel, the right lightness. Speed of delivery is something he really values because this kind of material needs that kind of liveliness. Ultimately, he created his own made-up time and world where people are braver, more principled and have more fun.”