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THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

The Society of the Crossed Keys
Back out of prison and on the lam, Gustave realizes he has only one place left to turn: The Society of the Crossed Keys, an extensive clandestine fraternal order of concierges who work at the best hotels around the world. In one of the film's most well-choreographed sequences, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Fisher Stevens, Waris Ahluwalia and Wally Wolodarsky take on the roles of the concierges who come to Gustave's aid.

Murray, who has appeared in all of Anderson's films except his first, has watched the director expand his vision. "I feel like we've grown up together," says Murray. "He still is a young kid to me but he's gotten more and more experienced, he writes and shoots more and more ambitiously, and it's more and more fun."

For his part, Balaban loved the film's nostalgia for a sort of golden age of hospitality and travel. "I think one of the great charms of this film is that it revisits a romantic and sumptuous age," he says. "It was a time when a hotel was a place you could shed your life, an exciting new world of running into new people and intrigue and being deeply taken care of. And when one of our own is in need, we concierges participate in an epic game of telephone tag, uniting in a kind of phalanx of concierge power."

The onset of war was a blow to this romantic age, and as the war takes hold in Zubrowka, the High-Command forces set up their base at the Grand Budapest. Monsieur Chuck, played by long-time Anderson collaborator Owen Wilson, takes over as military concierge during this period.

And when we re-visit the hotel in its later days, as it's hastening toward eventual demolition, we find Monsieur Jean at the concierge desk. For this role, Anderson went to another long-time colleague, Jason Schwartzman. "I am a collaborator of Wes's and I'm a friend of Wes's and I'm a fan of Wes's," says Schwartzman, "and every time I read one of his scripts the fan in me is the part that responds first. With THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL what was exciting is that it was such an intricate story on so many levels that jumps through different time periods and knowing Wes's sensibility, the fun was in seeing how it would all look."

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