Thanks to the brilliance (and enviable sway) of this year’s Ivy Film Festival organizers, we were among the many who were lucky enough to Skype with the director of the beloved Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and most recently, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is now playing at the Avon. Through a list of pre-selected questions — and a decidedly imperfect video feed — we learned just what inspires Wes’ characters, stories, and color schemes, among the other gems we’ve listed for you here:
1. Never has the artificial ringing of a Skype call come with such anticipation and subsequent cheering from any user.
2. Wes neither speaks French, nor is he well-versed in French cinema, but he yearns to direct more French actors, like Romain Duris and Isabelle Huppert. #AmericanDream?
3. Wes claims The Last Picture Show influenced his filmmaking, and he totaled a convertible in the middle of the night as he and a friend drove to the film’s location site in Archer City, Texas. The feed got kind of choppy at this point, and all we heard was “then my friend was trying to get me to look at the stars… and then I looked back at the road, and we weren’t on it!”
4. The character Gustave H, played by Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel, was inspired by a real person!
5. Wes’ color schemes stem from his personal feelings for and understandings of the time period. For Wes, the hotel world of the 1930s is synonymous with wedding cakes and ice cream parlors. Life in the 1960s is apparently… communist.
6. His movie sets are venues for Hollywood’s greatest “reunions” — Wes loves to work with his favorite actors and each film is a party. Adorable.
7. Everyone instinctively raises both hands like Metcalf and List are roller coasters when a beloved movie director wants to take a photo of the audience over Skype.
8. Anderson enjoys working with young people because they are hardworking and enthusiastic actors. Tony Revolori, who plays Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel, was “the most prepared” of the entire cast. Sign us up! Will. Work. For. Free.
9. Wes creates an entire quasi-animated version of his film before he moves into actual production. He draws every set, narrates the story, and edits each scene. He also doesn’t build anything on set that he doesn’t need. This seems questionable, but a rumored $23 million budget for Grand Budapest is rather low for its scope.
10. Finally, Wes advises young filmmakers to just “make the thing that you want to make” and to not be cautious. Follow your instincts. Start small and be economical.