'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Featurette: Meet M. Gustave

Previously, the trailers and teasers for Wes Anderson's latest adventure in quirky affectation - the luxuriantly titled The Grand Budapest Hotel - have taken pains to introduce viewers to its entire cast of characters. That's understandable; for his eighth film, Anderson has gathered together a talented troupe of such staggering size that it practically demands he take efforts to acquaint us with every player involved, both major and minor. Seems only polite.

But the newest bit of promotional material for the film, seen above, takes a different tact: it puts the brunt of its emphasis squarely upon the exactingly meticulous M. Gustave, the legendary concierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel's titular location. Yes, the clip goes on to give brief showcases to supporting characters - notably those played by Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Adrian Brody, and newcomer Tony Revolori, each of whom appears to hold high significance in Anderson's plot - but the focus here is on Gustave.

Which is to say that the focus is really on Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes isn't a man readily associated with funny characters, but in Gustave, he's found a role that plays to his strengths as an actor and lets him engage in some dry humor as well. Grand Budapest Hotel revolves around Fiennes as much as the hotel's operations revolve around Gustave; demanding and dedicated to his work, he's the heart and soul of the establishment, and as we see in the featurette, he has his hands in every aspect of keeping it up and running.

That statement also extends to the clientele, at least the dear old ladies who frequent the place, and this is where the film's crime caper plot stems from. Gustave's dalliances with the elegant, elderly Madame D. (Swinton) get him into hot water when she turns up dead days after an evening tryst they have together. Madame D., it seems, favored Gustave so highly that she bequeathed to him a highly valuable (fictional) renaissance painting in her will.


That doesn't sit well with her son, Dmitri (Brody), and so Gustave steals the painting and hides it, setting the entire plot in motion. From here, we meet the rest of Anderson's cast, including Edward Norton's reluctant chief inspector, and, most of all, Revolori's fledgling bellboy, Zero, new to the Grand Budapest Hotel and Gustave's new protege. He picked the wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it) time to come aboard the hotel's staff, based on how enthusiastically loony the film looks.

But this is what makes The Grand Budapest Hotel so recognizably a product of Anderson's mind, apart from the presence of his typical controlled, dollhouse aesthetic. In the midst of the film's colorful, period-based antics, it's really all about the friendship  between Gustave and Zero.

Watch the featurette for yourself and indulge in its unrelenting Andersonness; from the look of things, he has something special on his hands. We'll find out for sure next month.


The Grand Budapest Hotel hits theaters March 7th, 2014.

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