Asteroid City cast: the stars in Wes Anderson’s latest, from Margot Robbie to Tom Hanks
Wes Anderson’s latest film, Asteroid City, is coming to our screens very soon.
The trailer, which dropped last month (and quickly racked up four million views) set off a wave of Anderson-related content online: SNL released a skit of a Wes Anderson horror film trailer, which, incredibly, starred Anderson favourite Edward Norton. Then, Labour MP Emily Thornberry, made a TikTok about her campaigning, in the style of a Wes Anderson film.
So why is everyone so excited? Well, firstly Anderson has a dedicated fanbase. Then it’s also been two years since Anderson’s last film, The French Dispatch, though it feels like so much longer. Then there’s the storyline: this time it’s about a group of enthusiastic stargazers in the Fifties who get stuck in the desert when there are “world-changing events” that look very much like they could be aliens.
The film has also been making a lot of noise because – as with all of Anderson’s films – there’s a really really starry cast.
It includes the usual suspects – Anderson regulars Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum and Adrien Brody all feature – along with stars including Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie and Steve Carell.
The big names in Asteroid City’s cast
Jason Schwartzman is an Anderson favourite: not only has he starred in six of the director’s films, but he actually made his film acting debut in Anderson’s 1998 work Rushmore. Fun fact: he’s Talia Shire’s son (Shire is Francis Ford Coppola’s sister, and starred in The Godfather as Connie Corleone), which makes Schwartzman Nicolas Cage’s cousin.
Asteroid City will mark the second time Scarlett Johansson has worked with Anderson – she first collaborated with the director on Isle of Dogs (2018), where she voiced the show dog Nutmeg.
Tom Hanks looks like he’s going to have a fairly prominent role in the upcoming film, which will be his first time working with Anderson. Hanks, who is 66, doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. He had a jam-packed 2022, starring in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Disney’s live action remake of Pinocchio and in Marc Forster’s A Man Called Otto.
Hong Chau, who joins Anderson’s cast, also had a big 2022. Last year she starred in Mark Mylod’s The Menu and in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. Asteroid City will be her first Wes Anderson film.
You’re likely to be more used to seeing Jeffrey Wright pop up in major blockbusters, such as The Batman, The Hunger Games and a load of Bond films, but the actor has had his fair share of roles in indie flicks too (such as Broken Flowers and Only Lovers Left Alive). Asteroid City will be his second Wes Anderson film – he previously featured in The French Dispatch (2021).
Tilda Swinton first worked with Anderson on Moonrise Kingdom just over a decade ago and has also had roles in his subsequent film The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Isle of Dogs (2018) and The French Dispatch (2021).
“Working with Wes Anderson is one of the great privileges, not only of my life, but I would say pretty much anyone who works with him,” she said in an interview with Variety in 2021. She spoke about the fact that Anderson creates the feel of a family during filming: everyone stays in the same hotel and dine together every evening, people get changed in their rooms and are taken to set on a bicycle or in a golf cart.
“It helps that not only are there very often the same faces that we’ve all grown to love, but there’s usually mixed in some new ones, so it’s like an ever-growing garden,” she said.
The 67-year-old Cranston, who is probably best known for portraying Walter White in Breaking Bad, said that working on Asteroid City wasn’t easy: “When you work for an author like that, it is a big trust exercise,” he said to Collider. “Working for Wes is not easy. It’s very detailed and very specific, and so you really have to concentrate hard. What offsets that is the congeniality and the togetherness of the experience.”
“We’re all at this five-star hotel in Spain, and every single night is a banquet. Every single night, you are exchanging thoughts and laughter, and someone brings a guitar, and you’re singing, and you’re talking. It’s just so familial. It’s like fulfilling an actor dream camp. It was a really, really great experience, albeit, again, the work was very specific and very difficult.”
Norton is another Anderson regular, and has starred in both Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He was recently in the Netflix whodunnit hit Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, as billionaire Miles Bron.
Adrien Body has worked with Anderson for years, starring in Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited (2007), as well as Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The French Dispatch.
Speaking to The New York Times about working with Anderson he said: “It’s this beautiful and intense workday, and then, when that is completed, there is a giant exhale and we all kind of go home together, and it’s a giant familial dinner.”
Liev Schreiber, who has recently starred in A Small Light, Disney+’s new series about the efforts of Anne Frank‘s family and friends to elude the Nazis, will also feature in Asteroid City. He previously worked with Anderson in both Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch.
“The first time I was just overwhelmed and in awe of the meticulous detail and the kind of exquisite production design and mise en scene that to me is Wes,” he said about seeing Isle of Dogs when it was finished.
Hope Davis, who this year starred in Susanna Fogel’s psychological thriller Cat Person, is recogniseable from the HBO period drama series Perry Mason and in Succession as Sandi Furness, the daughter of one of Logan’s many rivals. This will be her first Wes Anderson film.
Stephen Park, who has worked with the Coen Brothers, with roles in Fargo (1996) and A Serious Man (2009) and with Bong Joon Ho, in Snowpiercer (2013), has also previously worked with Anderson on The French Dispatch. Asteroid City will be his first film role since then.
Rupert Friend, aka Mr Wickham in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice, previously worked with Anderson on The French Dispatch. He’ll also be starring in Anderson’s upcoming Netflix film, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, which will be an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s short stories. Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Ben Kingsley are also attached to the project.
The 70-year-old Goldblum is another Anderson alum, having starred in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs. “He’s a genius. I adore him, and in fact, I don’t want to give anything away, but I have a little bit of a sprig of a something, maybe kind of tasty, in this next thing that he does,” he said to ComicBook about Asteroid City. “We were in Spain and with an amazing cast, as you can imagine, and had a good time of it.”
Fisher Stevens, who is currently starring as Hugo Baker in Succession, worked with Anderson on The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch.
“I can tell you it’s probably the best, the wildest cast since The Bridge on the River Kwai,” Fisher said to Vulture in November 2021 about Asteroid City. “Most of the actors in this film have been in theatre except for the kids. We were all bubbled together in a hotel, which was an old monastery. I think it’s going to be quite an extravaganza.”
Tom Hank’s wife, Rita Wilson, will be starring alongside her husband in Asteroid City, and like her husband, it’s her first time working with Anderson. She was a producer on Hanks’ most recent film A Man Called Otto, and featured in a 2022 episode of 1883 and in Steven Soderbergh’s 2022 film Kimi.
Even Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has a cameo in the upcoming film. Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, he said he will be playing a cowboy in Anderson’s new movie.
“Wes and I met when he was showing one of his films in London and he asked me to play some records at the party,” he said. “Myself and Richard Hawley have written a song for his new film Asteroid City, which is coming out next year... I’ve got a small cameo role in the film as a cowboy, so there you are, dreams do eventually come true.”
“I’ve a lot of respect for the way he makes films. A lot of people say his films are really controlled and maybe think he is a cold person... He is actually the complete opposite. The experience of being that film set was quite inspiring.
“The film is a kind of quasi-Western, so he had this collection of DVDs of films which had some influence on the way he was making the film. You were invited to watch them. It felt like he was trying to involve you in the film as much as you wanted to be.”
Cocker has previously collaborated with Anderson. The two are friends, with Cocker recording a companion album to The French Dispatch, and Anderson making a short animated film for a cover Cocker made of French singer Christophe’s 1965 song Aline.
Bob Balaban, who has had roles in Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch, spoke to the New York Times about working with Anderson.
“There’s a lot of room in his precision — he does give you room to breathe emotionally,” he said. “A large amount of his shots are with a moving camera; sometimes both cameras are moving at the same time as the actors are moving. It’s a choreographed ballet. There’s a tremendous amount of synchronicity that has to happen, because he often looks for a perfect take. It’s not like he does close-up, close-up, close-up, and cuts them together.
“You would think it would become tedious and the truth is, it’s somewhat hypnotically relaxing to do this thing over and over again, feeling the dolly moving, and knowing you’re in the right position doing the right thing.”
Although The Office’s Steve Carell has been around the block a few times, Asteroid City will mark the first time he acts in a Wes Anderson film. Arguably it’s a big moment: Carell was pigeonholed as a certain kind of comedy actor for many years, but has spent the last decade proving his acting skills with more complicated roles in films and shows such as Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy (2018) and in Hulu’s The Patient (2022).
Asteroid City will also see Matt Dillon, who was one of the Nineties’ biggest American heartthrobs (starring in 1997’s In & Out, 1998’s There’s Something About Mary, and 1998’s Wild Things), working with Anderson for the first time.
Willem Dafoe has worked with Anderson for two decades as he featured in 2004’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. He subsequently had some excellent roles in Fantastic Mr. Fox (as, fantastically, a rat), The Grand Budapest Hotel (as a hitman) and in The French Dispatch (as an underworld accountant).
Speaking in 2014 about working with Anderson, Dafoe said: “I feel terrific freedom, because I feel freedom in structure. I mean everyone’s different, but you always hear that people think that improvisation is the absolute, biggest treat an actor can have. This, this is the easy stuff, this is the grunt work. The real beauty is in inhabiting and being there. So when all that stuff is done for you, I don’t know, I just think that’s closer to performing than anything else.”
Margot Robbie’s biggest role this year will no doubt be Barbie (she will star as the iconic doll in Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated comedy, which is set for a July release), but that hasn’t stopped buzz online when the news came out that the Australian actor will also star in Asteroid City.
Revolori is still arguably best known for playing the charming hotel porter Zero Moustafa in The Grand Budapest Hotel. He also starred in Anderson’s last film, The French Dispatch.
24-year-old Maya Kawke, the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, has previously worked with Quentin Tarantino when she had a small role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but this will be her first time acting in an Anderson film. This year she’ll also appear in Bradley Cooper’s next film, Maestro, which has Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Todd Phillips producing, and which is going to be about the life of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Carey Mulligan, Sarah Silverman and Michael Urie are also in it.
You might recognise Jake Ryan from Moonrise Kingdom and Isle of Dogs. The young actor also, perhaps surprisingly, had a cameo role in The Safdie Brothers’ 2019 crime thriller Uncut Gems.
21-year-old relatively new face Sophia Lillis is best known for having roles in the horror films It (2017) and It: Chapter Two (2019).
Ethan Josh Lee
22-year-old Ethan Josh Lee has been acting for over a decade, with small roles in a number of shows including the NBC series Mr. Robinson (2014-2015).
Another relatively new face is Grace Edwards, who had a role in Phyllis Nagy’s 2022 film Call Jane, which starred Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver.
The 23-year-old actor Aristou Meehan previously had a role in Swedish director Tarik Saleh’s 2022 Netflix film The Contractor, which starred Chris Prine.
Asteroid City is set to be released on June 23