CANNES, France — When Wes Anderson descends from Paris to the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France, he and his actors do not stay in one of the luxury hotels of Cannes but more than an hour on the beach and outside the hustle and bustle of the festival.
“When we arrived here yesterday, we arrived at a quiet, peaceful hotel,” Anderson said in an interview. We have an hour left, but it’s normal life.
A normal life can mean something in a Wes Anderson film, and that can be doubly so in his latest “Asteroid City.” It’s among Anderson’s most colorful creations, the most eclectic, ’50s-set fusion of science fiction, midcentury theater and a hundred other influences from Looney Tunes to “Bad Day at Black Rock.”
“Asteroid City,” which Focus Features will release June 16, debuted Tuesday in Cannes. Anderson and his stars – including Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright and Adrien Brody – arrived. all together in the bus.
The film, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, takes place in a desert town in the Southwest where a group of people, some of them nursing an unspeakable grief, gather for various reasons, whether it’s a meeting to look at the stars or a wrecked car. But even the story is part of the Russian Doll mythology. It’s a play in action – which, itself, is being filmed for television.
All I’m saying is that “Asteroid City” will present all the Tik Tok videos created in Anderson’s style, the famous diorama to create new TV animations, both human-made and AI-made. Anderson talked about Tik Toks. in an interview the day before “Asteroid City” premiered in Cannes, as well as some questions of style and inspiration in “Asteroid City,” the sun-dried work of Anderson density.
“I feel like this could be a movie that benefits from two viewings,” Anderson said. “Brian De Palma loved it the first time and he loved it the second time. But what can you say? You can’t make a movie and say, ‘I think it’s good that everyone should watch it twice.'”
AP: It’s interesting to read in the film “Jeff Goldblum as an alien,” before you know there is an alien. This seems to announce something.
ANDERSON: Naturally we were debating whether this was necessary for the opening ceremony. I said, “You know, it’s a good thing. It’s a little shady. In our case, it is not a big part. But part of what this movie is for me and for Roman, it has to do with the actors and the amazing thing they do. What do you mean when you give a presentation? If someone has written something then you study it and study it and you have an interpretation. But basically you take yourself and put it in the film. And then you take a group of people taking themselves and putting themselves in a movie. They have their own faces and their own voices, and they’re more complicated than anything even if the AI comes up with them. The AI has to know them to make them. He does all these emotional things that are usually a mystery to me. I usually stop and look and it’s always moving.
AP: An alien can show destruction to the characters in “Asteroid City,” and there is an atomic bomb test in the area. Is this your latest movie genre?
ANDERSON: The apocalyptic stuff was there. Maybe there were no visitors, but there was definitely a strong interest in them. Of course there were atomic bombs going off. And it was just after I think we could say the worst war in human history. There is one point that I remember telling Roman: “I think that not one of these men is suffering from some problem that he doesn’t even know about, but he is sharing it with his family in a way that he can solve it.” and Woodstock. Also: Everyone should be armed, so everyone has a gun.
AP: Since maybe “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” you seem to be adding frames to a lot of Russian dolls. Your first movies, “Bottle Rocket” and “Rushmore” are starting to look like reality. Do you think your movies are getting bigger as you get older?
ANDERSON: Ultimately, every time I make a movie, I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do and figure out how to make it do what I want to do. It’s often an emotional decision and it’s often a mystery to me how I’ll end up. The best way to make a film for me is to write it. I have a tendency to focus only on stage techniques, which are not in film. With “Grand Budapest” we had several episodes to it, and “French Dispatch” certainly had it. This is actually divided into two parts but there are more complicated parts. We know that a great movie is a drama. But we also have behind the scenes of the game. We also have a guy who tells us this is a fantasy sports television show that doesn’t exist. It’s not meant to make it difficult. I just do what I want.
AP: Have you seen all the TikTok videos they’ve made your way? They are everywhere.
ANDERSON: No, I haven’t. I’ve never seen TikTok, actually. I didn’t see my relatives or those who don’t have relatives. And I didn’t see anything of the AI type related to me.
AP: You can see it as a new generation of access to your videos.
ANDERSON: The only reason I don’t look at that stuff is because it takes things that I do over and over again. We are forced to accept that when I make a film, it has to be made by me. But what I can say is that every time anyone responds positively to these videos that I’ve made over the years, it’s a good, lucky thing. So I’m happy to have it. But I have this feeling that I’m like: Gosh, what am I doing? So I protect myself.
AP: People sometimes miss in your films that the characters in these countries have flaws and humor. Beautiful art can be real but all people are imperfect.
ANDERSON: That’s what I’d like, anyway. In the end, what matters most to me is what it says. I spend more time writing the film than doing anything related to production. It’s the actors who are at the center of everything for me. You can’t take them. Or maybe you can. If you look at AI, maybe I will see that you can.
AP: In “Asteroid City,” you combined interest and different ideas – the ’50s theater of Sam Shepard and the automaton. How does such a combination occur?
ANDERSON: We have an idea that we want to make for the 50s and it has these two aspects. One is the New York Theater. There is a picture of Paul Newman with a T-shirt and his foot on a chair in the Actors Studio. It was near the land of summer, behind the scenes of it, and these towns that were built and did not enter. This includes the East Coast and West Coast and theater and cinema. There are several dichotomies. And one of the central things was that we wanted to create a character for Jason Schwartzman that was different from what he had done before. Things that start to make a movie, end up being too much to change. A lot of things are added to the mix, which I like. And part of what this movie is about is what you can’t control in life. In a way, filmmaking is one of those things.
Follow AP Video Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP