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THE DARJEELING LIMITED

About The Story
"I wonder if the three of us would've been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people.” -- Jack Whitman

Wes Anderson has already chronicled the often simultaneously funny and calamitous vicissitudes of love and family relations in a prep school setting with RUSHMORE, a household of former geniuses in THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS and below the decks of a marine exploration ship in THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU.

Now, with THE DARJEELING LIMITED, he sets his story of a reunion between three estranged brothers in perhaps the most intriguing locale yet: onboard a train headed across the deserts of Rajasthan, speeding the shell-shocked brothers through vast foreign terrains both physical and emotional.

"I'd always wanted to make a movie on a train because I like the idea of a moving location. It goes forward as the story goes forward,” Anderson says. "I already set a movie on a boat.”

Trains have inspired moviemakers since the earliest days of cinema. In 1895, the Lumiere brothers' pioneering 50-second movie ARRIVAL OF THE TRAIN terrified audiences who had never before seen an image hurtling at them. In 1903, Edwin S. Porter created the first narrative film with THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY. And ever since, from the lavish sophistication of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS to the chaos of A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, trains have been a means of kinetically propelling all kinds of characters on all manner of journeys.

The trains that called to Anderson, however, were not just any locomotives but those that crisscross the world's most train-centric country – the explosively growing nation of India. Anderson had never been to India before he conceived of the film, but had long been in love with a landscape that had popped off the screen in some of his favorite movies, especially Jean Renoir's THE RIVER, a coming of age story set on the banks of the Ganges, and the sweeping, emotional films of the master Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The idea of bringing his own comically bittersweet sensibility to a world so different from his own intrigued him.

So all three of these story strands came together – and Anderson found himself setting off on his own three-man quest to India. "I decided I would like to make a movie in India, I decided I would like to make a movie on a train, and I thought I'd like to make a movie about three brothers,” Anderson says. "Then I asked my friends Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola to join me in writing the movie and we all went to India together.”

Before India, Anderson, Schwartzman and Coppola started writing while all three were temporarily living in Paris. Jason Schwartzman recalls this process: "I know this sounds kind of corny and picturesque but we started writing a lot of the film in little French cafes late at night,” he recalls. "Then at some point Wes just said: you know, maybe it would be good if we went to India. And so we all went in March of 2006 and that's when we began participating in the very things we were writing about.”

Much of the initial inspiration for the characters came from Anderson, Schwartzman and Coppola's own personal relationships and travel experiences, notes Coppola. "We each ended up sharing our experiences and germinating some of the ideas that factor into the story,” Roman explains.

Thus were born the three Whitman brothers who have been summoned to India one year after they buried their father together, seemingly never to speak to one another again. It is Francis, the eldest, who reunites the disparate siblings after a near-death motorcycle wreck that has left him swathed in a mummy-like mask of bandages and headgear. Claiming his brothers were the first thing on his mind when he came back to life after his accident, Francis has pre-arranged a minute-by-minute, carefully controlled itinerary designed to bring the

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