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At the Cannes press conference for Wes Anderson’s new film, Asteroid City, a star-studded cast including Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Bryan Cranston, Stephen Park, Maya Hawke, Rupert Friend, and Jeffrey Wright gathered to discuss the eccentric director’s latest creation.

Set in the 1950s, the film follows a group of prodigious children and their troubled parents as they attend a stargazer convention in a remote desert town, only to encounter a strange stop-motion alien.

While the movie’s style and whimsy drew unanimous praise, some critics lamented its lack of narrative depth. The cast and Anderson, however, kept the mood light during the press conference, whilst providing some insight into the director’s methods.

Johansson in particular lauded Anderson’s communal way of working, which she likened to a theater production. Schwartzman, who has worked with Anderson since the critically acclaimed Rushmore in 1998, added that the director’s curiosity had been the driving force of his entire directing career.

Cranston, who plays a television host in the movie, explained the complex plot as a, “story-within-a-story-within-a-story”, and praised Anderson’s hands-on approach to directing. All three actors agreed that Anderson’s unique approach to working on a film felt like being a part of an orchestra, with the director conducting each player with precise attention to detail.

Overall, Cranston summed up the essence of the Asteroid City, as a reminder to, “just keep telling the story. Just keep moving forward and be a storyteller.”

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