Tilda Swinton spent hours in the makeup chair to play 84-year-old dowager Madame D. "We're not usually working with a vast, Bruckheimer-type budget on my films, so often we're trying a work-around," said Wes Anderson. "But for the old-age makeup I just said, 'Let's get the most expensive people we can.'"
In an interview, Saoirse Ronan admitted that making the hotel's signature confection, the Courtisane au Chocolat, wasn't easy. "Forget the action scenes in Hanna (2011)," she said, "these little pastries were the hardest thing I've had to do in a movie."
According to Variety, Fox Searchlight sent its specification for the film's "proper projection" to theaters before its release. Although Wes Anderson's crime caper was shot in three different aspect ratios (1.37, 1.85 and 2.35:1) to inform viewers where they are in the time line, which alternates between 1985, 1968 and the 1930s, instructions state in large, bold red font that the film is meant to be projected in 1.85:1 aspect ratio (the standard). Aside from the projector setting, the directions include information on framing the picture, image brightness, audio configuration and fader setting.
In an interview with NPR, Wes Anderson said about finding filming locations, "We found this department store in this town called Görlitz, which is in Saxony. Half of Görlitz is in Germany, the other half is in Poland. It's on the border. And it's about 20 minutes from Czech Republic. So, in a way, it's really right where our story would be, if there was such a place as the one in our story. And this department store that we found, we made into our hotel, the big entrance hall of our hotel, and then we found everything else for the movie within a certain kind of radius of that department store."
According to Wes Anderson, the whole cast stayed in the same hotel [Hotel Börse in Görlitz] during the film's principal photography. He insisted on all make-up and costume happen in the hotel lobby of to give the process more urgency and speed up filming. The owner of the same hotel appears in the film as an extra working on the front desk of the Grand Budapest, and after filming finished for the day the crew would often return to find him at the front desk of their own hotel.
As of January 2015, this is the highest-grossing film of Wes Anderson's film-making career, grossing $175 million worldwide. It was also the highest-grossing independent film of 2014 and the highest-grossing limited-release film of 2014. In its first week it grossed over $811,000 in just 4 theatrical screenings, averaging $202,000 per screen.
In an interview with Stefan Zweig's biographer, Wes Anderson singles out two of Zweig's books; " 'Beware of Pity' and 'The Post Office Girl' from which The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) has elements that were sort of stolen ...". He also states "Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself - our 'Author' character, played by 'Tom Wilkinson', and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well."
Ludwig's (Harvey Keitel's prisoner character) tattoos are a direct copy of the character of Pere Jules in the 1934 film, L'Atalante. The MAV tattooed on his left arm is the abbreviation of French saying 'morts aux vaches' which translates roughly to 'death to the pigs/police'
The erotic painting that replaces "Boy with Apple" for a while (and which the Desgoffe and Taxis sisters mistakenly believe is "Boy with Apple") is in the style of the early-twentieth-century Austrian painter Egon Schiele. However, it is not an actual Schiele painting; Wes Anderson actually commissioned the painting from Boston-based painter and illustrator Rich Pellegrino. Pellegrino first came to Anderson's attention because Pellegrino is a regular contributor to "Bad Dads," an annual exhibit in San Francisco of artwork inspired by the movies of Wes Anderson. The official title of Pellegrono's Schiele-like painting that appears in this film is "Two Lesbians Masturbating."
At the end of the movie when Mr. Moustafa (Murray Abraham) and the Young Writer (Jude Law) are done talking, they walk to the front desk to get their keys. At this moment you can see the painting 'The Boy With Apple' hanging between all the keys. This means lobby boy never sold it.