CANNES, May 23 (Reuters) – A busload of celebrities descended on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet on Tuesday night for the premiere of director Wes Anderson’s new space-themed fable, ‘Asteroid City’.
As with his previous films, Anderson’s cast is a who’s who of Hollywood stars, including Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Adrien Brody and Margot Robbie.
Notably absent is Bill Murray, who has been in almost all of Anderson’s films but missed this one due to being sick with COVID-19 during filming.
Anderson told reporters Wednesday that directing “Asteroid City,” which features a quarantine scene while pandemic protocols were in place, worked well for the cast and crew.
“Our set was huge – it was a desert. But it was an enclosed desert that was only there for this small group of people and a camera in the middle somewhere to play these imaginary scenes, so I don’t want to say it was good for the movie but we used it in a way that wasn’t bad,” he said.
The film received a six-minute standing ovation after its world premiere at the lavish Grand Théâtre Lumière.
“Asteroid City” is the name of the fictional town in the southwestern United States where the film is set, which is set in the 1950s. Famous for its meteoric crater and observatory, the town hosts a convention for young scientists when a UFO disrupts the celebrations and turns the lives of the participants upside down.
Schwartzman plays Augie Steenbeck, a war photographer mourning the death of his wife, whose car breaks down in the city with his three young daughters and son in tow. Her love interest is famed actor Midge Campbell, played by Johansson, who is in town to attend the convention with her daughter.
This main story is locked in a complicated framing device in which it is actually a play, and the process of directing this play is the focus of a black and white television program with a anonymous host played by Cranston.
“It’s Wes’ love letter to performance art, and he’s wrapped his arms around the three major mediums we’re involved in,” Cranston told reporters Wednesday.
Johansson, who previously only worked with Anderson on his animated film “Isle of Dogs,” said the way “Asteroid City” was filmed, with a real set, felt like theater.
“Because you have all the tangible space, it’s not the familiar process of being on a soundstage and coming back to your trailer and all that downtime – all that eating away momentum” , said Johansson, who previously worked on Marvel. CGI-heavy superhero movies, like Black Widow.
“Asteroid City” marks the third time the director, known for his unique visual style, has competed for the festival’s top prize. His last entry was 2021’s “The French Dispatch”.
Anderson has teamed up to write “Asteroid City” with Roman Coppola, who he’s collaborated with in the past on such films as Oscar-nominated “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Isle of Dogs.”
The film received mixed reviews, with critics praising its visual detail and style, but deducting points for being light on emotional content.
UK newspaper The Guardian gave it four out of five stars while Variety wrote that it “looks smashing, but as a movie it’s only for Anderson diehards, and maybe not even too much. of them”.
Reporting by Miranda Murray, editing by Rosalba O’Brien
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.