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‘Hotel Chevalier’ checks into iTunes

Wes Anderson's short film premieres in N.Y.

Wes Anderson’s short film “Hotel Chevalier” premiered at the Apple store in Soho last night and is now available on iTunes. Fox Searchlight removed the short from the theatrical release of “The Darjeeling Limited,” scheduled to unspool on Saturday, and while both films will play back-to-back as the New York Film Festival’s opening night selection on Friday, Anderson thought that Apple was his best bet if he wanted to get the film seen by a wider aud.

“It’s not the most commercial idea in the world to say, ‘There’s another ten minutes you should see, but we’re not sure how,'” Anderson admitted. The short wasn’t much of a commercial enterprise to begin with: Anderson produced “Hotel Chevalier” on his own, after having “an idea for the setting that I thought wouldn’t be too expensive,” namely a single hotel room. Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman starred in the project for free, and by the time shooting started, Anderson, Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola had finished writing the screenplay for the short’s feature-length sequel, “The Darjeeling Limited.”

Portman, who only has a small cameo in “Darjeeling,” insisted that Fox not use her image in the advertising for the feature film, but said that she was pleased with the short and happy to promote it at the Apple store mini-preem, where she, Anderson, and Schwartzman participated in a Q&A sesh after the film.

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