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THE DARJEELING LIMITED

Three Brothers On A Train
The trip on THE DARJEELING LIMITED kicks off when Francis Whitman, following his brush with death, drags the two younger brothers he hasn't spoken with in a year to India for a reunion journey – one that he intends, perhaps against all better judgment, to bring a much-needed spiritual awakening to their family relations.

To play the three brothers, Wes Anderson cast three leading actors with a unique affinity for each other, yet who also serve as delightful foils for one another's temperaments. As the Whitmans, cool, wry Owen Wilson plays off the simmering intensity of Adrien Brody and the whimsically poignant comedy of Jason Schwartzman with an organic kind of family feeling.

In his role as the somewhat imperious eldest brother Francis, Owen Wilson appears as he has never been seen on screen before: achingly vulnerable (although outwardly an overbearing control freak), with most of his face heavily bandaged, covering the stitches and scars of his recent motorcycle crash, and limping along with a cane in a state of fragile desperation.

Francis' physical appearance Anderson says, was inspired by "a guy I saw at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in a motorcycle jacket whose face was covered in bandages. He had foam pads on the side of his head, his eyes were all black – and he was walking around the place in this sort of startled daze, with tears just sort of standing in his eyes. You really felt like this guy had been through something horrific and you couldn't stop watching him; and that was really the inspiration for Owen's character in the film.”

Anderson and Wilson's collaboration goes back to the beginning of both their careers, when they co-wrote Anderson's directorial debut, the runaway indie hit BOTTLE ROCKET, which also launched Wilson as a screen star. Wilson went on to co-write RUSHMORE with Anderson, and the pair garnered an Oscar® nomination for co-writing THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, in which Wilson also joined the ensemble cast. Wilson most recently reunited with Anderson with a role in THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU.

When Anderson sent Owen Wilson the screenplay for THE DARJEELING LIMITED, he reacted immediately to the story. "You know I'm from a family of three boys and it just seemed to capture that dynamic of how brothers are with each other. It was very funny and kind of sad too,” he says of the script.

As for Francis, Owen immediately liked his overwhelming sense of burden. "Francis really sees himself as the one trying to keep this family together,” he says. "You know, because our father is dead, our mother is AWOL, Francis is literally damaged, Jack is coming out of a bad relationship and Peter is having trouble with his wife – and in Francis's mind this is a real emergency and he has to get his family back on track. So he's united the brothers on this great adventure in India, and he has this funny idea that they're going to have a spiritual journey --- whether they like it or not.”

Of course, things don't go exactly as Francis and his assistant so carefully planned on their laminated itineraries – or even close to it. "The story reminded me of one of those family vacations you had growing up where everything would end in disaster,” Wilson muses. "Even though we're supposed to be having this blessed spiritual experience, we can't quite get past the bickering that kept us away from each other for so long in the first place.” This, in turn, leads Francis to do the one thing he never would have tried on his own – letting go a little. Wilson continues: "Francis is the type of person who thinks if you're going to have a spiritual experience, you have to really put in the effort. It's comical, of course, because you can't really approach the spiritual with that kind of methodical determination, but in spite of Francis, they do each kind of have a spiritual experience.”

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