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Wes Anderson On His 13-Minute Natalie Portman Film That's Free Online

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Wes Anderson didn't set out to create one of the year's most talked about short films when he wrote, directed and produced the 13-minute "Hotel Chevalier." Instead, the quirky, creative force behind such films as "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" intended the short as a kind of prequel or "introduction" to his comedic road drama, "The Darjeeling Limited," which lands in theaters Oct. 5.

As he envisaged it, "Chevalier" would play out like a piece of short fiction while "Darjeeling" would unspool like a novel. "I like short stories," Anderson said by phone from Paris. "I like the form. And I liked the idea of a short film as a companion piece to a movie."

In fact, he shot "Chevalier" in late 2005 -- around the time he had begun drafting the "Darjeeling" screenplay with Jason Schwartzman and his cousin Roman Coppola and nearly a year before that movie went into production -- making the shorter film a kind of working draft for the feature.

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