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Everyone’s Starstruck Over Scarlett Johansson in Stellar New Clips from Wes Anderson's Asteroid City

Wes Anderson’s next movie is all about stargazing sci-fi nostalgia… led by his biggest-ever constellation of actual movie stars.

By Benjamin Bullard
A still image from Asteroid City (2023)

Who’s ready to get quirky in the desert? Director Wes Anderson is back with his most expansive ensemble cast ever for this summer’s Asteroid City, a 1950s-vintage movie throwback to the burgeoning days of optimistic postwar technological advancement — you know, the kind of Moon-eyed mid-20th Century material that’s since gone on to power a thousand now-nostalgic sci-fi dreams.

Unfolding beneath tightly-guarded military oversight at one fateful stargazers’ convention in the American southwest, Asteroid City (which serves as both the movie’s title and the name of its fictional-city setting) boasts a downright ridiculous stack of A-list acting talent, from Scarlett Johansson (as Hollywood star Midge Campbell) to frequent Anderson collaborator Jason Schwartzman (as war photographer Augie Steenbeck).

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To prep us early for Anderson’s latest surge into surreal territory, Focus Features has just debuted a trio of quick new snippets from the upcoming sci-fi romantic comedy… and just as you’d expect, they’re each brimming with his signature mix of humor and left-field dialogue, buoyed by a story Anderson created alongside Darjeeling Limited writer Roman Coppola.

Check out three new clips from Wes Anderson's Asteroid City:

The first clip finds Tom Hanks and pals staging dire death-ray hijinks in the desert, escalating what begins as an innocent chat over how to ditch the whole stargazing scene into a minor skirmish, as the death ray in question gets just a little too close for trigger-happy comfort:

Then there’s Augie Steenbeck (Schwartzman) playing the role of a stealthy candid-camera photo assassin in a 1950s diner, snapping a bold picture of Johansson’s movie starlet as she primly prepares to dig into a plate of waffles. Oh, the audacity! — He didn’t even bother to ask her permission:

Finally, Johansson’s character hangs in with costar Hope Davis outside a bath house, bumbling through a painfully awkward conversation over starlet Midge and her most under-appreciated Hollywood acting work:

Previous teases already have hinted what Anderson fans could’ve guessed all along: Asteroid City looks like a deliciously fun jaunt through a whole acting catalog of stars eager to team with the director of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and the charming animated feature Isle of Dogs. The difference this time out, though, is the killer sci-fi setting, which blends the sleekly-crafted set design of two-dimensional rendered backdrops with obsessively-detailed practical effects — the kind of stuff, in other words, that might just make Bill Murray’s lavishly-appointed Life Aquatic boat look like a tiny bathtub toy by comparison.

Then there’s the bananas Asteroid City cast itself, which barely seems to begin with the mere mention of Johansson, Schwartzman, Hanks, and Davis. Take a deep breath and try this sprawling ensemble on for size: Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, Jake Ryan, Jeff Goldblum, and…well, we might even be leaving out a name or two.

Focus Features bills Asteroid City as an innocent stargazing trip gone haywire. “The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention (organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition) is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events,” the studio teases, with more than a hint of Anderson's trademark gift for overly-detailed explanation.

Then again, how can you really sum up a Wes Anderson movie in only a handful of words? Set for exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles on June 16, Asteroid City is bound for a meteoric debut when it lands in theaters everywhere beginning Friday, June 23.

If you're suddenly in the mood for some more quirky fun with Jason Schwartzman, check him out in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, now streaming on Peacock!