One of the best things about a new Wes Anderson film is seeing the author’s stable of regular collaborators gradually expand. While he typically brings a few new A-listers into the fold on each project — for example, ‘Asteroid City’ marks his first time working with Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks — Anderson tends to collaborate with his favorite actors time and time again. .
Actors are generally eager to re-team with Anderson, which may explain how he’s able to consistently assemble star-studded casts on relatively low budgets. Scarlett Johansson, for example, was so excited to work with him again that she showed up on the set of “Asteroid City” just eight weeks after her son was born in 2021.
In a new interview with Entertainment WeeklyJohansson explained that she didn’t expect to be back to work so soon after giving birth. But she had already put so much preparation into the role that she decided to make it work rather than forcing Anderson to find a last-minute replacement. To help her manage the demanding shoot of Anderson with a newborn at home, she turned to an unlikely source of help: her co-star Jason Schwartzman.
“Jason has been so helpful,” Johansson said. “He was so quick, and I also had a toddler, so there was a lot to do. My brain was mostly working, but it would help me run lines any time. He was constantly there and supportive and I really needed him. I’d say, “Please don’t stray too far from me.” I was trying to stay alert, but it was just amazing. We work in a very similar way.”
Johansson’s admiration for Schwartzman goes far beyond the help he provided her on set. She also praised the “Rushmore” star’s acting skills and the subtle details she added to her role in “Asteroid City.”
“Her nuance and her ability to be playful with the dialogue is just amazing,” she said. “He can understate things so well, and he’s very accurate. I mean, all the actors in the cast are really cool and a lot of them have a theater background as well. I wonder if it’s something Wes is after, knowingly or unknowingly, because it’s like he’s created his own theater company.
“Asteroid City” will premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival before opening in U.S. theaters on June 16.