Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Gets a New Trailer

Back in 2012 we were all swept away by Moonrise Kingdom’s whimsical meditation on first love. And since, we’ve been anticipating what Wes Anderson would give us with his next ensemble feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Starring  Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Lea Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, the film follows:

…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 and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

And now you can meet its cast of characters in a new trailer for the feature below.

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That’s Quite A Cast There, ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’

So, today we learned a lot of new things about Wes Anderson’s early-20th-century European romp, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which now has a distributor (Anderson fans Fox Searchlight) and something of a plot. In addition to IMDb’s lone sentence about the tribulations of Mr. Gustave, "the hotel’s perfectly-composed concierge," Screen Daily has a bit more substantial information. 

 

"The Grand Budapest Hotel tells of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars and his friendship with a young employee who becomes his trusted protégé. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century."

Wartime friendships? A dysfunctional family? Curious protégés of crazy rich white dudes? Stolen art? Did I mention a dysfunctional family? This is sounding pretty Wes-tacular. But even more characteristically Wes Anderson is the cast, which includes all his favorite pals, and a lot of other marquee names that will probably make this post read like it was done just for SEO purposes.

Returning Anderson-movie alumni include Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe, as well as (deep breath) Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Wilkinson, Bob Balaban, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, F. Murray Abraham and Tony Revolori. Whew. That’s a lot of people. That’s, like, more than are going to fit on one movie poster. Is there going to be some kind of Hunger Games to determine who gets marquee billing or are they going to try and fit everyone? Wow.

[via Indiewire]

Jeremy Renner Takes Over ‘The Bourne Legacy’

After years of supporting roles and indie hits, it’s time for Jeremy Renner to play the leading man. In this newly released trailer for The Bourne Legacy, he takes over from Matt Damon for the lead of the well-respected Bourne series, punching guys in the head, shooting things, generally acting like an all-purpose can-do secret spy should. Of course, it’s not a clean split to a new generation: as the trailer makes clear, Legacy is a direct continuation from the story left off in the last Damon installment, 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum."There was never just one," the trailer’s title grimly announce, while an offscreen character tells Renner that "Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg." 

Goosebumps, maybe, depending on your allegiance to the original films. Legacy returns Tony Gilroy as director (he wrote the screenplays for the first trilogy), so the tonal change shouldn’t be too jarring. Renner is a nice replacement for Damon — they’ve got the same haircut, the same serious dude face, the same emotional distance, the same sartorial austerity. (Oh, and it looks like Edward Norton and the wonderful Joan Allen are involved, somehow.) The movie looks to follow up on the whole Treadstone conspiracy plotline, but it will be interesting to see if this is a one-off or merely the foundation for an entire new trilogy. As always, money will probably determine that. The Bourne Legacy will come out on August 3, just after you’ve gotten tired of all those superhero movies. 

The Hulk Gets a Makeover With Mark Ruffalo

If you’ve lived longer than ten years and been aware of moving images you’ve probably noticed that comic book character The Hulk has seen quite a few images thrown his way. First, there was the much-derided Eric Bana vehicle The Hulk which did poorly at the box office. Then there was The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton, which, again, despite being a financial sucess, failed to pull nearly the kind of "wow!" factor that similar franchises Spiderman and Iron Man have brought in. 

Finally we are brought full circle with You Can Count On Me star Mark Ruffalo portraying the green guy on screen in The Avengers, according to Yahoo Movies. Is America ready for another Hulk actor? Hopefully, yes. If not: get ready. The Avengers drops on May 4th, 2012 and feature not only Mark Ruffalo but Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansonn.

Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton Re-Team In The ‘Stone’ Trailer

For the first time since 2001’s pretty decent The Score, the legendary-but-now-tarnished Robert DeNiro has teamed up with Ed Norton, one of the best character actors of his generation, and the result is Stone, a sexy prison thriller about an arsonist trying to manipulate his way out of prison. The trailer is out and…yup, yup, okay, not bad. DeNiro does his squinty-eyed world-weary tough guy routine, Norton disappears inside a chewy accent and a pile of cornrows, and Milla Jovovich — playing Norton’s wife, who seduces DeNiro, Norton’s parole officer — is finally given something to do besides shoot zombies.

As decent as this looks, I’m a little bit disappointed by the trailer, at least in that it’s a DeNiro project. DeNiro made his name starring in some of the greatest films of all time, yet he seemed content to spend the aughts keeping busy with sub-bar projects and mining his tough guy/curmudgeon persona for cheap, if lucrative, laughs. Sadly, this doesn’t look like it’s going to reverse that trend.

If DeNiro is simply tired of really trying and just wants to spend his golden years making serviceable, if less than transcendent movies, that’s certainly his prerogative. With Raging Bull, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, et cetera et cetera, already in the bag, the man doesn’t owe us a thing.

On the other hand, why isn’t he teaming up with real talent any more? What, Paul Thomas Anderson or Martin Scorsese or the Coen brothers or whoever don’t have any juicy roles for him? We used to expect brilliant performances from DeNiro. Now we’re conditioned to expect by-the-numbers performances.

Oh well, at least we have Little Fockers to look forward to this Christmas.

Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson Discuss ‘Leaves of Grass’

Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson met for the first time over coffee. Remembering the encounter, Nelson, an actor (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and director (O, The Grey Zone), says, “Edward is one of the few actors of his stature who will actually read the script you send him and sit down with you to discuss it.” Norton, the two-time Oscar-nominated star of Primal Fear, American History X and Fight Club, says, laughing, “People who write bad scripts have a very different experience.” Although they were eager to collaborate, “Edward very politely told me he didn’t think that it was going to work out,” says Nelson.

Eventually, Nelson conceived of a project that did work out. In this month’s Leaves of Grass, he directs and stars alongside Norton, who plays two wildly and hilariously divergent characters: Bill Kincaid, a revered classics professor at Brown University, and his deadbeat twin brother Brady, a pot dealer who, hoping to reunite with Bill in rural Oklahoma, fakes his own death. The film, which also features oddball performances by Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss and Keri Russell, reveals, despite Bill’s unwavering insistence to the contrary, the similarities shared by the Kincaid brothers. From their homes in New York, Nelson and Norton get on the phone. “Is this a 50/50 conversation?” Nelson asks, to which Norton, turning the tables on his director, explains, “No, Tim. I’m in the driver’s seat, buddy.” EDWARD NORTON: Why don’t you tell me what first made you start pecking the keyboard and hammering out this vision of crazy twins. TIM BLAKE NELSON: The writer P. G. Wodehouse talked or wrote about beginning a story with a single character. That’s what I always do. The first character in Leaves of Grass was Bill, the professor. I started with his monologue about a healthy, happy life as envisioned by Plato. I’m just going to jump in and note that Tim was a classical philosophy major at Brown. [Laughter.] Then I started to write the character of Bill, with his actual life reflecting what he was talking about and what would eventually become the opening monologue of the movie. His is a life of careful restraint and a kind of vaulting toward ideals, with the perpetual understanding that humans can never reach those ideals. Another impulse I have as a writer, because I’m also an actor, is to write great parts for actors. So I thought, How about if one person could embody wildly divergent characters, at least wildly divergent on the surface? That’s, by the way, when you came into my head. You checked and noted that Robert Downey, Jr. was locked up in Iron Man 2. Then I came into your head! What was happening in you that made you want to investigate this idea of balance? Although I admired Plato, the philosopher who struck me when I was studying philosophy was Epicurus. He is misinterpreted through the word “epicure,” because we think that an epicure is someone who eats a lot. But the kernel of Epicurus is actually a quote from Juvenal that says, “Mens sana in corpore sano,” which means “a sound mind and a sound body.” To achieve that, I think you must have balance, which can mean doing everything from constantly reading history and fiction and the newspaper to, you know, enjoying illegal substances and drinking a lot of wine. I did notice that for all of your loquacious, philosophical capabilities, you also know how to make a can of Budweiser explode up into a roasting chicken. Was the earlier part of your life made up of the textures of Oklahoma, the accents and the culture of rednecks? My wife likes to say that I grew up on the Upper West Side of Tulsa. I had a rigorous Jewish upbringing. I went to a private prep school in Tulsa and my parents ran a strict, intellectual household, in which we delivered reports at the dinner table that were then debated.

I see you as a child of [theologian] Reinhold Niebuhr and [rock guitarist] Duane Allman. I’ll put it this way: I had a Latin study group in high school and we would meet several times a week. But after the work was done, we did… other things.

Obviously, the title of this film is pulled from Walt Whitman’s book of poetry. Since this is BlackBook’s Brooklyn issue, I’d like to talk about Whitman, one of Brooklyn’s most famous sons. For me, Whitman marks the advent of free verse. That became a metaphor in the movie for how to establish your own meter in life. Keri Russell’s character, who quotes Whitman and is a poet herself, offers that to Bill. He says, “I really don’t believe in poetry without meter, because then you can simply write anything and you’re not responsible to a form, and there has to be form, otherwise how do you live a life?” And she essentially answers as Whitman offers in his poetry, “You create your own.”

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I first read Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” when I moved to New York fresh out of college. It’s probably half the reason I still live here. He observes all the surging humanity in Brooklyn and New York—the dreams and aspirations and sufferings—and speaks directly to you across time: “All the same things that I’m feeling, I’m sure you’re feeling now.” It was one of the greatest poems I’d ever read because it made me feel instantly that people in all eras experience the same struggles no matter how the specifics of life change. That’s perfectly put. By the way, are you not making a film of Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn?

I have been working for too long on adapting that into a script, which I am making some progress on, finally. I’m weaving into Jonathan’s narrative certain parts of the history of New York in the 1950s. It will someday see the light of day. Even though we are talking about poetry and philosophy, your movie is also full of crossbows and marijuana grow houses. Have you ever actually shot a crossbow? You can’t grow up in Oklahoma and not end up shooting something.

Did you ever shoot at small, living things? My experience with shooting small, living things is limited to the time I shot a squirrel with a pellet gun when I was about 13. I was so distraught over killing this animal for no purpose whatsoever that I never shot one after that.

In Leaves of Grass, the characters enter into a Quonset hut the size of a football field filled with sodium vapor lights and cannabis plants. Have you ever seen an amount of marijuana that would constitute trafficking? I saw bags full of marijuana in Jamaica in the ’70s, but not in Oklahoma. You’ve made your life in Manhattan for a while. With the franchising of culture in America making everything seem the same, do you still feel a sharp difference between where you live now and where you grew up? I do, because what makes Tulsa unique is that, as a character actually says in the movie, people generally don’t go to Oklahoma unless they have family there. It’s not a tourist attraction state, and so it does feel of another time.

Do you get a sensation of going home when you go back there? I do. I really do feel when I’m in Tulsa that I couldn’t be in any other city, and I deeply, deeply appreciate having grown up there. It’s left more of a mark on me, I think, than any other place I’ve lived.

Illustrations by Garrett Pruter.

Links: E. John Has E. Coli, Roman Polanski Posting Bail

● Brad Pitt (dressed as Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba) and Angelina Jolie (zombie) took Maddox, Zahara, and Shiloh for some Halloween fun in L.A on Saturday. [Radar] ● Edward Norton was one of many that participated in the New York City Marathon yesterday, finishing in 3 hours, 48 minutes, and 1 second; he was running to raise awareness for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. [E!] ● Elton John’s tour with Billy Joel is being put off after John contracted a case of E. coli and has been ordered by doctors not to perform. [CBC]

● Scott Foley will be Courtney Cox’s latest prey on ABC’s Cougar Town. [EW] ● Thandie Newton thought Oliver Stone was crazy when he cast her as Condoleezza Rice in his film W, and now the former Secretary of State is signed to the same talent agency (William Morris) as Newton. [DailyMail] ● Roman Polanski is still trying to get out of jail, this time offering to post a serious amount of cash for bail. Well, it’s not like he’s a flight risk or anything. [TMZ]

Ed Norton on Trailing the Obama Campaign

HBO and Edward Norton’s production company have teamed up to produce a record of Barack Obama’s historic campaign, By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, premiering November 3. What started out as a documentary of a senator turned out to be one of the biggest undertakings Norton and the filmmakers have ever experienced. The team worked on By the People for over three years, chronicling the life of the Obama family and those who gave their all for Barack to get elected. The result is a sensationally moving depiction of the campaign trail that displays the strength of Obama and those he inspired. We caught up with Norton and filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams to hear about their experience making the film and being given an all-access pass into the life of our president-to-be.

On what inspired the filmmakers to create this documentary and follow Obama originally: Amy Rice: I watched his convention speech in ’04 and I was really impressed with what he had to say. I felt for the first time that he was a politician of my generation. And if you think back at that time. the country was so divided. and he was saying something new and something different. “We’re not blue states, we’re not red states, we’re the United States.” I bought his book and read his story. and he has an incredible, modern-day story, and that’s how the idea was conceived. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy could be the first African American president, that could make a great documentary.’

On the limitations of making a film that originated as a documentary of a senator, and ended with the election of a President: Edward Norton: If you try to over-define things in this situation, they can blow back on you in a way. I think one of the smartest things we did strategically is that we slow-played it. First and foremost when we proposed it to him, it wasn’t about a presidential run. It was about chronicling a senator’s experiences in his first term. We had nine months to keep telling them that we were not engaged in an expose on Obama. Then when it became a campaign, they already knew us, and there was definitely a moment of transitioning. We were not the press, and we were not trying to exploit it. Eventually I think they saw that we were here for the long run and this was more of a historical record and not something in the short-view that would make them vulnerable to the media cycle.

On the film as a modern-day lesson in civics: EN: When I watch it, one of the first things I saw that I was most pleased about was that it succeeded as a film apart from access to Obama. I think when it really started to gel for me is when these guys showed it to me, and things like the Iowa section — I really had never understood caucus politics until I saw it. AR: It’s also a modern-day lesson in civics, how this campaign really changed how people run things, with the involvement of the internet and engaging the youth.

On what shocked them the most while making this documentary: Alicia Sams: The most surprising thing to me was that it happened. I mean, we started in the Senate, and I did not think it would happen this quickly. I did think it would happen one day, but the speed of it was very surprising to me. AR: I think what was surprising for me was that I didn’t really grow up in a political family, so I just experienced what was going on behind the scenes and what a campaign entailed, and the back and forth between the media, and what a grueling process it was. EN: And she was surprised at what a political junkie she actually was. I was surprised at what an undertaking what you thought was such a small project turned out to be.

On going through the experience with Obama early and whether or not he has lived up to the hype: AR: It’s too soon to tell. He’s only been in office for nine months. From what I experienced with him on the trail, there was always a plan, there was always a long-term goal. And I assume they have that same mentality right now.

Obama to Play Himself in HBO Biopic

Barack Obama’s favorite show is The Wire, and now he’ll have a chance to join those illustrious crack dealers on HBO. According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO just closed a seven-figure deal with Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films, who approached the Obama campaign in 2006 with intentions of filming a documentary about the politician’s campaign and political history. Filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams were given special access to Obama and his inner circle and followed the campaign all the way to Grant Park this past Tuesday. Here’s a preview of what it might look like in photo form.

HBO better release its planned Obama documentary fast, before this fad ends up in the dumpster alongside flared jeans and Napster. Right now, the President-Elect is all anyone can talk, think, sing, or write about, but in a few months, chances are his name will just be a blip in the history books, right? Apparently, the network plans to air the doc sometime next year, when the Obama administration will be très passé, and the world will have moved on to more pressing matters, like how this guy is handling his new job.