Wes Anderson at the photo call of Asteroid City in Cannes © Rune Hellestad
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Wes Anderson, renowned for his distinct audiovisual style, discussed the necessity of his approach in a film industry saturated with CGI, superheroes, and formulaic productions at the press conference of his latest flick Asteroid City in Cannes. In a thought-provoking response to a question about the stylistic stagnation of the industry, Anderson emphasized the importance of creating a unique atmosphere that informs the entire filmmaking process.

When confronted with a question about the stylistic stagnation of the film industry, Anderson responds by emphasising the impact of atmosphere on the entire production process. Speaking of shooting certain scenes in Spain instead of Studio, he explains, “The cast affects the whole way we’re going to produce the movie… It changes the experience of these people playing it… That’s what I’m hoping we get out of it and that it’s worth going to the effort to make a real space.” Anderson prioritises creating an authentic environment for his cast, opting for practical effects and real locations over post-production manipulations. This was clearly appreciated by the cast too, who all admitted the experience of acting in almost a theatre set very galvanising.

Wes Anderson at the photo call of Asteroid City in Cannes © Rune Hellestad
Wes Anderson at the photo call of Asteroid City in Cannes © Rune Hellestad

Anderson’s dedication to traditional techniques becomes evident as he expresses his affinity for old filmmaking methods. He remarks, “I am particularly drawn to the old techniques. I’d rather shoot on film… the way we work is probably much more similar to the way a movie was made in 1930 than most movies made right now”. This adherence to classic approaches imbues his films with a sense of craftsmanship and authenticity, setting them apart from the CGI-laden spectacles prevalent in the industry.

Addressing the potential impact of ever-developing CGI and AI on the next generation of filmmakers, Anderson acknowledges the accessibility of modern tools and techniques yet encourages filmmakers to seek authenticity. He states, “I think now people have the ability to make so much themselves with very little means… but it always depends on what your story is… there’s certainly the way of going out into the world and finding it, that’s not a digital solution”. Anderson encourages emerging filmmakers to explore unconventional methods that align with the narrative, rather than relying solely on digital solutions.

On a separate topic on his use of slow motion, Anderson reflects on its power to evoke emotions and manipulate pacing. While he hasn’t been using slow motion since ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ (2001), he admits, “I should look for some spots for that… bring back the slow-mo… it’s completely transformed when you see it in the dailies… there’s something magical about it. “I’m taking note and I will do it again,” promises filmmaker.

His distinctive audiovisual vernacular, demonstrated through practical effects, and tangible environments, elevates his films and influences the next generation of filmmakers. But the main achievement is perhaps his soft skills. “He is curious about his cast”, admitted Jason Schwartzmann at the press conference of the Asteroid City. And that’s what makes him a commodity that financiers and investors want to invest into.

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).