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TODAY   |  February 28, 2014

Ralph Fiennes sniffs out his character’s cologne

Actor Ralph Fiennes visits TODAY to chat about his role as a concierge in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” in which his character douses himself with a special cologne called L’Air de Panache.  After a smell test, he guesses correctly that Carson Daly is wearing the scent.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> two-time oscar nominee ray fennes always picks great movies. he stars as an old world concierge.

>> who are you?

>> i'm the new lobby boy.

>> zero you say?

>> yes, sir.

>> who hired you?

>> mr. moeser, sir.

>> mr. moser?

>> yes.

>> am i to understand you hired this young man in the position of a lobby boy?

>> he's been engaged for a trial period pending your ail approval, of course.

>> perhaps, yes. thank you.

>> your most welcome.

>> you're now going to be officially interviewed.

>> ray fiennes , good morning. the word that kept popping into my mind was quirky. i mean, it's so odd and interesting and adventurous. it's kind of indescribable. how would you describe it?

>> i think for people who know wes anderson 's films will be anticipating the quirky starlet you're talking about. wes has an amazing sense of humor. it's an off sense of humor. very clever, very perceptive about people and has a very particular style, which is in the framing, it's in the -- where the camera moves and the performances.

>> i read an interview that said he wrote this part of the concierge with one person in mind, you.

>> yeah.

>> that's a big compliment.

>> and a responsibility because once he told me that, well, i hope i don't disappoint. maybe thinking the line's going to be delivered like this or like that. but he was a great director. very, very helpful and has a musical ear about how the dialogue should be delivered.

>> on the other hand i was thinking, well, this character is uptight, he romances rich old ladies at the hotel. why was he thinking for you for that?

>> i don't know.

>> the irish independence said your performance is basically a master class in comic acting, which is another great compliment. but, i mean, we don't necessarily always think of you as a comic actor. was that intimidating to try this new kind of role?

>> it was intimidating. i could see it was a great role on the page and i needed wes ' guidance. he has a great ear. we did many, many takes and i got a chance to try different things. and he was -- i always got the sense he could hear when it was landing, sort of the timing felt right.

>> apparently you shot in germany in a teeny, tiny town. there are so many amazing co-stars in this movie. and it's actually one of the delights. every other scene you've got -- did you have any fun in germany? did you have to hang out together?

>> one of the thing wes likes to do is keep all the actors staying under the same roof. people know each other, they know each other from working with wes before, and i knew edward edward norton . and till de tilda swinton .

>> and a scene stealer , not with you, necessarily. but a young actor, his first big role.

>> yeah, he's fantastic.

>> one of the things i love about this movie, your character. shall i say he overcolognes?

>> he likes to wear a cologne.

>> and he created this, right?

>> i think he created it recently. and i wore another scent which -- the scent that's recently being created, i believe i'm wearing now.

>> oh, you are?

>> yeah.

>> well, how interesting, i wanted to do a little experiment. it's not going to be -- it doesn't involve me smelling you, you'll be happy to know. but my co-anchors here, we're all wearing a different perfume. you need to guess who is wearing it.

>> okay.

>> this is the oddest thing we've ever done.

>> oh, no. up here. this gentleman's wearing --

>> oh!

>> a discerning nose.

>> the nose knows.

>> look at what i'm wearing. what did you say?

>> no.

>> it's horrible.

>> the grand budapest hotel opens next friday. great to have you here.

>> thank you so much.

>>> coming up, more acting talent. first, your local news.