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The Berlinale Blog: Chaos at the Conference

If Jeff is turning his back on photographers and Bill is ticked off and only Wes looks happy – there’s a reason! Eve Lucas explains.

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A bored Bill Murray

If you hold a press conference for an ensemble cast of actors appearing in the Berlinale’s opening film The Grand Budapest Hotel and manage to unite William Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Bill Murray plus (relative) newcomers Saoirse Ronan and Tony Revolori plus director (Wes Anderson) and producer Jeremy Dawson on one stage … why not go to the trouble of making sure that everybody sitting up there gets asked at least one question?

There are never any quality guarantees at a press conference. Questions today addressed Swinton’s anticipation of old age, Norton’s potential uniform fetish, and standards at the Adlon where Ralph Fiennes (and people, please, it’s pronounced Rafe) is staying. There was an MC up there – but whether he was overawed by the collective acting clout or simply didn’t want to dominate proceedings, it seems like a remarkable feat of omission not to direct at least one question to an actor with the calibre of, let’s say … Jeff Goldblum?

Poor Wes Anderson had his hands full: presenting his film and trying to involve his more neglected cast members in a bit of friendly banter. Thankfully, Murray chipped in obligingly, engaging his director in a brief sparring match on collateral transport costs for 20-minute voiceovers. That was something, at least.

Part of the problem is a film with so many starring actors that there’s bound to be a crush. Perhaps bruised egos are the inevitable result. No such thing as bad publicity? Maybe, but this free lunch comes with a price tag, after all.