Back to business

Arriving home over the weekend was tough. Not in the “Oh, I miss Europe” sort of way, but rather in the dealing with jet lag sort of way. It took me two days to adjust when I got there, and three days to adjust once I got back. And considering how I was pretty much over jet lag in a single day the last time I went to Europe, I am pretty sure this is another sign I’m getting older.

When I arrived one of the first things I did was to get caught up on all my pop culture news. Shockingly enough, BBC doesn’t carry a lot of coverage of the entertainment scene in the US – I didn’t see a single episode of American reality television. Not that I really minded. But I was excited to see that the new Wes Anderson movie was getting ready to come out. I was even more excited to see that he had made a short film called “Hotel Chevalier” involving one of the characters from The Darjeeling Limited (played by Jason Schwartzman) and Natalie Portman and that it was free on iTunes. Even more intriguing was when I read that Natalie Portman got nekkid in the first few minutes of the movie!

Being a fan of Ms. Portman’s body of work, as well as all things Wes Anderson, I immediately headed over to iTunes to download it. It took a while* but once I watched it, a few things came to mind:

  • I still really like Wes Anderson. Sure, it’s not his greatest work ever (for me, that is The Royal Tennebaums) but it’s better than Bottle Rocket.
  • It’s kind of short. Only a scene or two’s worth of material and there’s a lot of backstory that is (probably intentionally) left out.
  • The nekkidness barely qualifies. Yes, she does take her clothes off, but you never really see anything. It’s “artful” nudity, which actually helps make Natalie Portman that much more attractive – she doesn’t need to flash anyone to show she’s got mad acting skills.
  • Speaking of which, something tells me because the nekkidness was so disappointing that the whole thing was a publicity ploy for Darjeeling Limited. “Visit the website to see Natalie Portman’s first nude scene in film**!”. Judging from the buzz I heard I suspect it’ll work. I mean, it got me, right?

It just goes to show the lengths to which studios will go to build buzz. I’m still a little suspicious about the Hotel Chevalier thing though. Maybe Natalie and Wes really hit it off, maybe they offered her a wad o’cash***, I don’t know. But at the end of that short I found myself thinking “She took her pants off for *that*?” I mean, were *I* Natalie Portman, I don’t think I would have taken the role purely based on the script.

I think I’ll deal with it by simply believing that she really wanted to get into the exclusive “Wes Anderson Movie Regular Cast” clique, and this is what they make pledges do as part of the hazing. I can only thank God that they didn’t publish Bill Murray’s initiation on iTunes.

* It’s a 150MB file, after all.
** Technically, I don’t think that is accurate either, because I know there were some scenes in “Goya’s Ghosts” where she’s not clothed in the asylum, but again – tasteful nudity. And I never actually saw the film, so those scenes may have been cut from the final edit.
*** What with her being so short of cash at the moment only making 2-3 films a year and the residuals from the Star Wars prequels probably only being in the mid-six figures…


J.Bro said…
I don't buy - WON'T buy - the argument that Natalie Portman is anything but a wooden, awkward actress. I've tried (because I think she's a dish), but I just can't get there. Even in Closer, which I thought was a fantastic movie, she stood out as "acting".
towwas said…
I saw Darjeeling Limited at a press screening last night - I liked it, but it pissed me off that the first thing they showed was a thing telling you to watch Hotel Chevalier before you watch Darjeeling Limited. Gee, so I'm already behind before the movie starts? Thanks, Wes. Jerk.