With Wes Anderson returning to live-action film this year via the dazzling romance Moonrise Kingdom, critics and cinephiles have been fastidiously tracking any news on his follow-up The Grand Budapest Hotel. First came a wild range of casting rumors that included Johnny Depp and Angela Lansbury. But as the film drew closer to production—with us all still wondering what it would be all about—Anderson himself declared Depp was not involved, and news soon followed that Lansbury was out.

Then shortly after Anderson regular Bill Murray leaked the film would shoot in Germany, Anderson emerged to reveal just a little more about his mysterious Grand Budapest Hotel, saying it would "mostly take place" in the late 1920s and was aim for a tone like Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner. At the time, Anderson had a confirmed cast that included recurring players Murray and Jason Schwartzman as well as newcomers to his twee aesthetic Ralph Fiennes and Jude Law. Now, Variety reveals Irish ingénue Saoirse Ronan has signed on to play the film's female lead, but unfortunately, there are no further details on her role at this time. But I think we can safely assume she'll wear pastels, right?

This is an interesting turn for Ronan, for while she has worked with a string of notable directors—from Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna) to Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones) and Neil Jordan (Byzantium)—she is generally associated with somber fare. The Grand Budapest Hotel is sure to be lighter in tone than her best known roles, and so could prove a game changer for the ingénue. And obviously, it'll be exciting to see how she takes to Anderson's deadpan comedy style, much like it was to watch Bruce Willis, who was added to the ranks of Anderson players in Moonrise Kingdom.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is slated to roll into production in Germany in early 2013.

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