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‘Asteroid City’ was an intense experience: Scarlett Johansson

AFP . Cannes
26 May 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 26 May 2023 01:40:37
‘Asteroid City’ was an intense experience: Scarlett Johansson

Living in the Spanish desert on a quirky film set imagined by director Wes Anderson for his latest mind-bending movie was an “intense” experience, actress Scarlett Johansson said Wednesday.

“Asteroid City”, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, puts Westerns, theatre, 1950s Americana and an alien into a blender -- with critics saying it would appeal to devoted Anderson fans but possibly baffle general audiences.

His style is so unique it has spawned its own trend of people filming scenes from their lives on TikTok as if they were in a Wes Anderson movie. And life on set for his coterie of Hollywood megastars is also unlike any other, according to the cast.

“It’s intense, it’s funny because the world is sort of there, you’re in it, the whole environment is created,” Johansson told reporters at the festival.

Having previously done voiceover for Anderson’s animated film “Isle of Dogs”, she added that it was her first experience working with him as “a live actor and not a dog”.

“It feels very vibrant and very much like you’re working in theatre. It’s very fulfilling and exciting,” Johansson said.

The cast also includes stars like Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Tilda Swinton.

“I love for us to form a troupe and stay together, and you sit at a long table and you have dinner,” said Anderson, describing nights sitting around enjoying music from British musician Jarvis Cocker -- who contributes music to the film.

Actress Maya Hawke (“Stranger Things”) also praised the “lack of hierarchy and the ensemble that Wes creates on set. It just feels wonderful.”

The movie is set in a remote desert town where a group of child geniuses gather for a science competition that is interrupted by an alien visitor.

In typically convoluted Anderson form, the desert story is presented as a play being performed in New York -- which was confusing for viewers as well as for the cast.

Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), who plays the narrator, said, “It feels like Wes Anderson is a conductor of an orchestra and all of us are players of our particular instrument and we hyper focus on our instrument and just present it without really knowing exactly how it’s all going to piece together.”