It’s easy to spot a Wes Anderson film. The director of “Rushmore” and “Moonrise Kingdom” has an exacting style that makes him one of the most visually recognizable directors working today. Each person, each object is positioned with an eye toward order, and it’s easy for audiences to get lost in the worlds Anderson creates.
Which means he has a lot in common with the central character of his latest film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” opening Friday. Monsieur Gustave, the titular hotel’s concierge, has a flair for service and an obsessive eye for detail.
“Wes absolutely corresponds with Gustave,” says Ralph Fiennes, who plays the character. “I was aware that I would be, as it were, taking a leaf out of Wes’ book, in terms of precision.”
The Oscar-nominated British actor (“Schindler’s List,” “The English Patient”) says he didn’t find that precision — Gustave’s or Anderson’s — limiting.
“The environment is set up very precisely, but [Anderson] wants the actors to invent,” Fiennes says. “He creates this ordered world in which the actors can play.” That’s the kind of world Gustave wants to create for his guests — someplace so ordered that their cares just slip away.
“A really good hotel makes you feel like nothing is too much trouble,” Fiennes says. “No task is too much to make the guest feel at home.”
Of course, cares might be forgotten, but they always come back. Gustave has two major problems: First, he’s been falsely accused (well, probably falsely) of murdering an elderly guest (Tilda Swinton, unrecognizable under prosthetics) to inherit a valuable painting. Second, the life he’s built is slowly beginning to crack, mainly due to a vaguely World War II-esque conflict that’s building around the hotel.
“Gustave knows [the hotel] is an illusion,” Fiennes says. “He is under no illusions, but he has dedicated his life to making things better for others. He’s a bit like an actor or a director — they want to enjoy the other person’s belief that it’s a reality.”