Wes Anderson has been remarkably productive of late. It was just a year and a half ago that the idiosyncratic American auteur debuted his last perfectly symmetrical, delightfully quirky drama, the zippy ensemble piece The French Dispatch—and now, he is poised to return with yet another heartwarmer.
Titled Asteroid City, his next project, per The Hollywood Reporter, is billed as “a poetic meditation on the meaning of life as it tells the story of a fictional American desert town in and around 1955 and its Junior Stargazer convention, which brings together students and parents from across the country for scholarly competition, rest and recreation, comedy, drama, romance and more.” So far, so Wes Anderson, then.
The revered director has not only helmed the film, but also co-produced and penned the script, which is based on an original story he conceived alongside Roman Coppola, his collaborator on 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited, 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom and 2018’s Isle of Dogs as well as his last big-screen release.
Any new Wes Anderson film is, of course, cause for celebration but this one is doubly so thanks to its stellar (not to mention extensive) cast. It features many of his regular players—Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Stephen Park, Tony Revolori and Rupert Friend—but also a thrilling spate of newcomers to his candy-coloured world. Among them is Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon and Hong Chau. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also Scarlett Johansson and Bryan Cranston, who are set to make their live-action debuts in a Wes Anderson film after both voicing characters in Isle of Dogs.
Johansson sizzles in the first trailer, which was released on 29 March and offers more insight into the film’s major plot points. It opens with families gathering in Asteroid City for the convention, and Johansson soon saunters on screen with her ’50s shades and perfect red lip, playing a magnetic movie star. But then, aliens appear to make contact with the earthlings and the town becomes a quarantine zone. “I don’t like the way that guy looked at us, the alien. Like we’re doomed,” says Jason Schwartzman’s character. “Maybe we are,” deadpans Johansson.
Asteroid City is set to be released on 23 June 2023. More good news? Anderson aficionados won’t have to wait long to see even more from the director: he also has Netflix’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar in the pipeline, a Roald Dahl adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley and Richard Ayoade. Here’s hoping Anderson’s current bout of creativity doesn’t end there.