Starring Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, and a handful of new faces, Asteroid City is set to be released in summer 2023
Dig your tweed jacket out of your perfectly symmetrical, pastel pink wardrobe, dust off your velvet bow tie, and crack open your beginner’s guide to French New Wave: Wes Anderson has set a date for his new film, Asteroid City.
Rumours about Asteroid City have been floating around for some time – since before the director had even premiered his most recent film, The French Dispatch, a multilayered, Francophilic love letter to magazine journalism. In May 2021, mysterious film sets tied to the production began popping up in Chinchón, Spain, and since then we’ve received a steady trickle of casting announcements.
Actual details about the plot are still pretty threadbare, however, although we do know that Wes Anderson wrote it with the help of Roman Coppola (who previously collaborated with the director on The French Dispatch and Isle of Dogs). It’s also described as a “poetic meditation on the meaning of life”, so no biggie!
Below, we’ve gathered everything we know so far about the latest offering from the Tsar of Twee.
‘IT’S THE USUAL CAST OF CHARACTERS’
Tilda Swinton was the first confirmed star of Asteroid City, letting the information slip in a June 30, 2021 interview. Wes Anderson fans won’t be surprised to hear that the film will feature a star-studded ensemble, however, with the expected regulars joined by some fresh new faces. Most notable among the latter are Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie, who announced it would be their first time working with the director in August 2021.
The mammoth cast is rounded out by Adrien Brody (naturally), Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Maya Hawke, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Jeffrey Wright, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, and more. Unfortunately, Bill Murray had to be recast due to contracting COVID just before filming.
JARVIS COCKER WILL PLAY A COWBOY
The Pulp frontman previously recorded music for The French Dispatch, where he played a peripheral role as the fictional pop star Tip Top (leading to a full album of French pop covers with an animated video by Anderson). Stepping it up in Asteroid City, the musician will apparently perform a cameo role as a cowboy, and has written another song for the new film.
IT’S NOT ABOUT SPAIN
When Anderson’s cast and crew descended on the historic town of Chinchón, Spain, and erected film sets in the nearby desert, they were plenty of rumours about what the mystery project would entail. Some said it would be in the vein of classic Westerns – noting sets that appeared to include a train station and landscapes ripe for a gunfight – while others suggested it could revolve around the medieval town, the way the French Dispatch centred on a fictional French city.
Tilda Swinton was quick to clarify that the film is “not about Spain” however. A classic Western was also ruled out pretty early on in the production, with new theories popping up that Anderson’s slated Rome-based romance film had been relocated.
SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEN?
We finally got some clear answers about the storyline of Asteroid City earlier this year. Debunking earlier rumours, the film is actually set in 1950s America, where students and parents travel across the country to a desert town for a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention. Expecting “fellowship and scholarly competition”, they instead find chaos and confusion as the convention is disrupted by “world-changing events”. Mysterious! Twee! What did you expect?
THE ASTEROID CITY RELEASE DATE IS SET FOR NEXT SUMMER
This film is the first since Moonrise Kingdom that has seen Wes Anderson team up with Focus Features. The film studio has now announced that it’s scheduled a limited theatrical release on June 16, 2023, with a wider expansion planned for June 23. Everything points to another world premiere at Cannes Film Festival, where The French Dispatch got a nine-minute standing ovation in 2021.
Stay tuned for more details.