Scarlett Johansson © Rune Hellestad
0 5 mins 1 yr

Wes Anderson‘s Asteroid City, his 11th movie, premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in France on May 16, 2023The movie is set in a fictional American desert town circa 1955, and it features a star-studded cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman.

The stars of A-List have graced the red carpet of the Festival in all their glory on the sunny evening of the opening night.

Scarlett Johansson © Rune Hellestad
Scarlett Johansson © Rune Hellestad

Following the meta-anthology of The French Dispatch and timeline-shuffling The Grand Budapest HotelAsteroid City is another Russian nesting doll of narrative devices. It’s a movie about a TV broadcast about a theater company producing a play: “Asteroid City,” named for and set in a tiny Southwest desert town in 1955, conceived in melted popsicle hues that leap from a sparse, flat landscape fit for Wile E. Coyote. The broadcast sections are presented in black-and-white, in a boxy aspect ratio, with Bryan Cranston as an old-fashioned anchor guiding us behind the scenes of the eponymous theater production. Anderson’s cast, robust as always, sees returns from past troupe members Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Willem Dafoe, and Tilda Swinton, as well as many newcomers to the Anderson Cinematic Universe, including Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, and Steve Carell.

Cast and Crew of the Asteroid City at the photo call in Cannes: Photos

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The story structure creates layers that Anderson obviously enjoys playing with– for instance, Johansson plays an actress playing an actress playing a part –but he is equally if not more interested in peeling them back.

With customary standing ovation at the end of the film, there were Cannes Film Festival veterans who feel that Wes Anderson is churning out shallow but visually striking films just because he can. As always, some outlandishly stages scenes create a feeling that you have joined the Anderson’s cult where everything is a bit OCD and where meaning is at times sacrificed for celebrity and picture-perfect shot. And while the viewer might suspect that there is something shallow in the work of Anderson, the A-list actors can’t seemingly get enough of the writer-director.

Cast at the premiere of the Asteroid City in Cannes: Photos

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During the press conference at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, actors were asked how does it feel like to delve in to the mind of We Anderson. “It was intense,” commented Scarlett Johansson. She attested to having found working with Anderson fulfilling and exciting thanks to his realistic sets that immerse. “He has somehow managed to remove all the down time of being on the set and then in your trailer and all this wasted time,” gushed Johansson.

Maya came to support the point: “The ensemble that Wes creates on set in combination with the level of writing storytelling and and the beauty of the space that you’re inside of just makes it such a pleasure. And it feels like there’s no pressure on you because every part of the world around you works so smoothly between the people that you get to act with and be surrounded by. So the process and the product are aligned so beautifully and it feels it’s just wonderful and at ease even though it’s it feels like it should be such a high pressure environment because of how high the stakes are high.”

With his ability to create such immaculate visual style and elicit such adoration from his cast, we can be sure the money will be pouring into Anderson’s production pot and the films will keep coming out.

The film is due to be released on the 16th of June in Cinemas so make sure you check it out.

Editor in Chief | Website | + posts

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