By EW Staff
Updated August 10, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: James Hamilton

Several years ago, Wes Anderson ran an idea by his Rushmore star, Jason Schwartzman. ”Wes said, ‘How about a movie with three brothers on a train?”’ Schwartzman recalls. ”I was like, ‘Uh, yeah, it sounds great!’ And he said, ‘Just think about it.’ I didn’t think it was an invitation to help him write it.”

Turned out it was. Anderson, who scripted Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums with Owen Wilson and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou with Noah Baumbach, collaborated on this one with Schwartzman and the actor’s cousin Roman Coppola (CQ). Over the course of two and a half years, meeting in various locales around the world to write, the three friends crafted a tale about a trio of estranged siblings — played by Schwartzman, Wilson, and Anderson-repertory newcomer Adrien Brody — who, after the death of their father, undertake a ”spiritual journey” on a train through India. ”The movie’s about how you can be in a beautiful place,” says Schwartzman, ”and someone you love can push your buttons, and you’re like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening! Not here, not now!”’

Anderson got the idea to set the movie in India from Martin Scorsese, who years ago showed him a print of The River, Jean Renoir’s 1951 film about the subcontinent. ”Seeing that was the moment that made me think I really needed to do this,” says the director, who also credits the films of Satyajit Ray for inspiration. ”I owe a debt [to Scorsese], definitely.” Even though the production — based in Rajasthan on the country’s northwest coast — used a real train, and the movie is packed with the director’s usual eyepopping attention to meticulous and funny detail, Wilson emphasizes that it’s about brothers not a wacky train ride through India. ”Sometimes people focus on the eccentric stuff in Wes’ films,” says Wilson, ”and the other stuff gets lost, that there’s a real emotion in his work. It’s definitely there in this one.” All aboard. (Opens limited Sept. 29; goes wide in October)

The Darjeeling Limited

  • Movie
  • R
  • 91 minutes
  • Wes Anderson