One of the best things about a new Wes Anderson movie is seeing the auteur’s stable of regular collaborators gradually expand. While he generally brings a few new A-listers into the fold on each project — for instance, “Asteroid City” marks his first time working with Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks — Anderson tends to collaborate with his favorite actors over and over again.
Actors are generally eager to re-team with Anderson, which might explain how he is able to consistently assemble star-studded casts on relatively low budgets. Scarlett Johansson, for example, was so happy to work with him again that she showed up on the “Asteroid City” set just eight weeks after her son was born in 2021.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Johansson explained that she didn’t expect to return to work so soon after giving birth. But she had already put so much preparation into the role that she opted to make it work rather than force Anderson to find a last minute replacement. To help her navigate Anderson’s demanding shoot with a new baby at home, she turned to an unlikely source for help: her co-star Jason Schwartzman.
“Jason was so helpful,” Johansson said. “It was just so quick, and also I had a little baby, so there was a lot going on. My brain was mostly functioning, but he would help me run lines at any moment. He was constantly present and supportive, and I needed him very much. I would say ‘Please don’t go too far away from me.’ I was trying to stay alert, but he was just great. We work very similarly.”
Johansson’s admiration for Schwartzman extends far beyond the help he provided her on set. She also praised the “Rushmore” star’s acting abilities and the subtle details that he added to his role in “Asteroid City.”
“His nuance and his ability to be playful with the dialogue is just great,” she said. “He can underplay things so well, and he’s very precise. I mean, all of the actors in the cast are really strong and a lot of them have theatrical backgrounds too. I wonder if it’s something that Wes searches out, knowingly or unknowingly, because it’s like he’s made his own theater troupe.”
“Asteroid City” will premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival before opening in U.S. theaters on June 16.