Wes Anderson Goes Sci-Fi in 1950s America: Watch the Trailer for His New Movie Asteroid City
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Wes Anderson Goes Sci-Fi in 1950s America: Watch the Trailer for His New Movie Asteroid City

Wes Anderson has been making feature films for 27 years, in which time his work has grown more temporally and geographically specific. Although shot in his native Texas in the late nineteen nineties, his escape photo Rushmore does not appear to have occurred in any part of the United States – and even more surprising, no era can be identified. Few filmgoers have seen Anderson’s sharp retro sensibility before, and in later projects Royal Tenenbaum And Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou, it improved a lot. Then, in 2012, it came The Rising Moon Kingdomthat brings Anderson’s aesthetic to a specific time and place: New England in the fall of 1965.

Since then, Anderson and his colleagues have told the stories in their distinctive visions of Eastern Europe, Japan, and France—but always, explicitly or implicitly, in one period or another in the mid-20th century. Judging by the newly released trailer, the events of Anderson’s next film Asteroid City takes place perhaps in the mid-20th century year imaginable, 1955, and in small-town America at that.

Or rather, very small-town America: Asteroid City itself appears to be located in the middle of the Arizona desert (although it was shot in Spain, in keeping with Anderson’s increasingly European-oriented production habits), and nothing more interesting happens — apart from the test. the occasional long-range nuclear weapon – rather than the annual “junior stargazer competition”.

The film “is about a beleaguered widower (Jason Schwartzman) who is busy driving his four children across the country to see their grandfather (Tom Hanks) when their car suddenly breaks down,” wrote The Verge’s Charles Pulliam-More. This leaves the family stranded in the titular city, with “strange earthquakes of unknown true cause, fears about whether aliens may be lurking among the humans living in Asteroid City, and multiple celebrity (Scarlett Johansson) sightings.” As fans might have guessed from this summary, the ensemble cast includes more than a few Anderson regulars, also including Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, and Bob Balaban. The COVID-19 cases prevented Bill Murray from participating, but even so, no one who saw the trailer could doubt the viewing experience from Asteroid City would be very Andersonian indeed.

Related content:

Wes Anderson Explains How He Writes and Directs Films, and What His Signature Filmmaking Style Is

Why Do Wes Anderson Movies Look Like That?

Wes Anderson Short Films & Commercials: A Playlist of 8 Andersonian Shorts

The Perfect Symmetry of a Wes Anderson Film

Wes Anderson & Yasujiro Ozu: New Video Essay Reveals Unexpected Parallels Between Two Great Filmmakers

Wes Anderson Breakthrough Film, RushmoreRevisited in Five Video Essays: It Came Out 20 Years Ago Today

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcastst about the city, language and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter book about cities, book The City Without a State: A Journey through 21st Century Los Angeles and video series City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarsall or on Facebook.

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