Wes Anderson First Animated ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel is so meticulously art-directed that at times, it looks more like a painstakingly handcrafted animation than an actual live-action film. And as it turns out, there was an animated version once upon a time, before production officially began.

Star Jeff Goldblum revealed that, as part of his creative process, Anderson had created a sort of early draft of The Grand Budapest Hotel using animatics and voicing all the characters himself. “You could see the whole movie,” Goldblum recalled. More details, including when and where you might see it, after the jump.

While it’s typical for filmmakers to use storyboards to plot out their vision ahead of time, most don’t go as far as creating a fully animated edit of their movie unless the film in question is intended to be animated, or is particularly effects-heavy. But trust the famously detail-oriented Anderson to take the planning process that much further.

“He had, I think developed from having done Fantastic Mr. Fox, an animated version of the movie,” Goldblum told TheWrap. ”It was a beautifully animated version of the whole movie, with all the cuts as they pretty much I think wound up to be. And he voiced all the characters. He called it animatics. I had it on my computer, you could see the whole movie.”

Though the final product, which hits theaters next weekend, is a live-action caper, Anderson did find a few opportunities to show off his animation skills. Several of the scenes were done in stop-motion, including one climactic chase through a snowy landscape. The not-quite-real look enhances the fairytale feel of the film, which is set in a fictional Eastern European country. 

If you want to see the rest of the film in animated form, though, you’ll have to stay patient for now. “Willem Dafoe even said to Wes, you should release this,” Goldblum said. “You may see it on the DVD extras.”

The Grand Budapest Hotel opens March 7.

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