03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Wes Anderson On His 13-Minute Natalie Portman Film Offered Free Online

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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