It would be justified to say that Wes Anderson is not just a filmmaker; he’s an artist, who paints stories in vibrant visuals and immersive narratives that have the power to teleport you into his world. (Or maybe it’s this writer’s undying admiration for his work). If you have never experienced Anderson’s masterful storytelling, but want to, then the upcoming film, Asteroid City is what you should definitely look forward to. And even if you have, this film has the potential to go over and above what you have seen before. The long-awaited project is the filmmaker’s latest ensemble period piece and his 11th feature film, which he writes, directs, and co-produces, from a story written by himself and Roman Coppola.
Set in 1955, the plot of Asteroid City follows a bunch of students and parents who head to a fictional desert town for the annual Junior Stargazer convention and the events that ensue. Defined as a sci-fi romantic comedy, the film might look like another lavish, cinematic experience from the book of Anderson, and yet, it’s not just another of his work, as the newly released trailer shows. But more on that in a bit.
Slated to arrive in theaters this summer, this seems like a perfect film to watch this season and soak yourself in Anderson’s colorful imagination that usually leaves you asking for more. And while you wait, learn about the plot, release date, trailer, cast, characters, and everything we know so far about Asteroid City.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on May 26, 2023, with new footage.
When Is Asteroid City’s Release Date?
Asteroid City is making its global premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in May 2023, followed by a limited theatrical release in the United States by Focus Features on June 16, 2023. The film will get a wide release on June 23, 2023.
Is There an Asteroid City Trailer?
Watching a Wes Anderson movie is like flipping through a beautifully made picture book or a compilation of artworks, where the characters and subjects come alive. The official trailer of Asteroid City shows that this upcoming feature will also render that experience. It’s almost redundant to talk about the characters in the trailer because a quick read at them would not do justice to the layers that they will showcase when you watch the movie. So, let’s skip that and talk about how the trailer can make you feel.
The trailer’s vivid and optimistic tone coupled with the use of continual symmetry, makes for the signature motif of the filmmaker. But as the trailer progresses, it becomes clear that not all is bright and beautiful. This visual perfection is instantly contrasted with a subtle air of mystery and chaos. It’s aspirational yet terrifying and confounding, it’s immersive yet escapist, just what Anderson excels at. So, if this kind of artistic incongruity is your deal, then you cannot miss this film. In simple words, Asteroid City’s trailer hints at an adventurous, fun, and aesthetically inviting film that will transport you to the pastel-hued, golden days of Americana.
Focus Features has released three clips of the film, showcasing Anderson’s snappy dialogue and establishing the film’s tone. The first clip, “You Were Very Good,” [seen above] showcases that beautifully. While these are not full trailers, these clips offer a deeper insight into how the film treats its audience and, once again, that feeling that is distinctly Wes Anderson. Below you will be able to watch the clips “Are You Married” and “You Didn’t Ask Permission.”
Who Is in the Asteroid City Cast?
If there’s one thing common in all of Wes Anderson’s films, it’s the spectacular cast, featuring some of his all-time favorites, friends, and frequent collaborators. But with Asteroid City, the casting has gone above and beyond his other projects and showcases a bigger, grander, and stellar cast, that has been described as “larger than most other Anderson films that are ensemble in nature.”
In an interview, cast member Fisher Stevens describes it as “the wildest cast since The Bridge on the River Kwai.” Bryan Cranston, who also features in the film, shares his experience of being a part of the extravaganza and calls it “like fulfilling an actor dream camp.”
Packed with Hollywood’s A-listers, Asteroid City stars Jason Schwartzman as Augie Steenbeck, a widowed father of four who attends the stargazing convention; Scarlett Johansson as Midge Campbell, an actress, Tom Hanks as Augie’s father-in-law, Jeffrey Wright as General Grif Gibson, along with Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Margot Robbie, Willem Dafoe, Steve Carell, Hong Chau, and Jeff Goldblum, as well as Stephen Park as Roger, Liev Schreiber as Ed, Rupert Friend as Montana, Matt Dillon as Walter Geronimo, Jake Ryan as Woodrow Steenbeck, Ethan Josh Lee as Ricky, and Aristou Meehan as Clifford. The period sci-fi rom-com also features, Hope Davis, Maya Hawke, Tony Revolori, Sophia Lillis, Grace Edwards, Rita Wilson, Jarvis Cocker, and Bob Balaban in various roles.
Who Are the Creators of Asteroid City?
Wes Anderson writes and directs Asteroid City from a story that he co-writes with Roman Coppola. Anderson and Coppola have been long-time collaborators and have previously worked on Anderson’s previous projects like The Darjeeling Limited (along with Jason Schwartzman) which Coppola also co-produced, Moonrise Kingdom, Isle of Dogs (along with Schwartzman and Kunichi Nomura), and The French Dispatch (along with Schwartzman and Hugo Guinness) where Coppola served as executive producer.
Asteroid City is the second collaboration between Focus Features and Anderson, having previously teamed up in 2012 for Moonrise Kingdom. Anderson also produces the sci-fi romantic comedy film along with Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning producer and visual artist, Jeremy Dawson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Steven Rales, under his production banner, Indian Paintbrush.
When it comes to the creators of any Anderson film, the cinematography, and music make for significant parts of his projects. For Asteroid City, Anderson once again brings back Robert Yeoman, an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, known for his frequent collaborations with Anderson (and Paul Feig). The fact that Yeoman has worked with Anderson on his every live-action film, says a lot about the art and visual style that make each of these films exceptional and iconic. Yeoman’s work on The Grand Budapest Hotel earned him Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for Best Cinematography. Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Cesar Awards-winning French film composer and conductor, Alexandre Desplat who has also scored for Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, and The French Dispatch, composes the music for Asteroid City.
When Is Asteroid City Filming?
The project has been in the works since 2020 and the principal photography took place between August and October 2021, across different locations in Spain.
What Is the Story of Asteroid City?
Like most of Anderson’s stories, Asteroid City is also designed in a fictional but vibrant setting where strangers meet and bring about transformative changes in each other’s lives, through comedy, romance, and drama.
In 1955, a large group of students and their parents gather from across the country to join the Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention, held in a desert town. The idea is to bring people together through rest and recreation, scholarly competition, and other entertaining activities. But this busy schedule is interrupted by “unspecified events” that would change the world and lives of the people, particularly those attending the convention.
The official synopsis via Focus Features reads:
The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention (organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition) is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.