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Talking Movies

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Ralph Fiennes interview

Wes Anderson has been criticised for a focus on style over substance. But despite its madcap humour, his latest movie has serious depth, says Tom Brook.

Ralph Fiennes has received rave reviews for his role as the concierge Gustave H in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Filmed near the Polish border in Germany and set between the two world wars, the screwball comedy deals with some darker issues.

Inspired by the Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig, who witnessed at firsthand the advance of the Nazis, the film’s production design evokes a strong sense of nostalgia for a world that was undone by evil forces.

“I think it’s about loyalty and friendship,” Fiennes says. “How someone stands up to [Fascists] on a point of principle.” The British actor talks to Tom Brook about the film’s use of pastiche – and how he likes his character swearing.

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