The Cannes Film Festival is accustomed to stars but when it comes to sheer celebrity wattage, you can’t match a Wes Anderson movie.
And so it was Tuesday night with the world premiere of Anderson’s latest, Asteroid City, which features a massive cast of A-listers — Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Scarlett Johansson, Hong Chau, Margot Robbie, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody and more.
Hanks and wife Rita Wilson, Carell, Johansson, Schwartzman, Cranston, Wright, Brody, Matt Dillon, Steve Park, Maya Hawke and Hope Davis were among those in attendance at Cannes, where Anderson and his cast arrived en masse by bus instead of the usual limos.
Not everyone, however, made it to Cannes, which was a blessing in disguise since the famed red carpeted stairs would barely have contained them all. But the ones that made the trip provided several times the star power of any other movie screening here this year.
The stars were a gift for the festival paparazzi, as well as the crowds of movie fans that had waited for hours for a chance to scream and shoot selfies.
The screening itself was delayed by 20 minutes as Cannes had to corral the film’s massive cast. Cranston walked in holding up the train of Rita Wilson’s long dress as the audience at the screenng gave the cast a standing ovation before the movie began.
Asteroid City drew a warm if muted response from the gala audience, though there were some whoops and cheers as the festival cameras panned over the vast cast. The crowd stayed on its feet, clapping through a polite five-minute standing ovation. Anderson kept his post-screening comments brief: “We are so happy to be here tonight. Thanks to our stupendous cast. Thank you.”
Asteroid City is set in 1955 and focuses on a group of students and parents from across the country who gather for in a tiny fictitious desert town (population 87) in the American Southwest for the annual Junior Stargazers convention held in the basin of a huge meteorite crater. Little do these astronomy geeks realize they are about to witness a world-changing event.
Anderson is a regular in Cannes. He was here two years ago with The French Dispatch and in 2012 with Moonrise Kingdom, both in competition (as is Asteroid City). So far, he has always returned from the Croisette empty-handed. But perhaps the third time’s the charm.
After its Cannes premiere, Asteroid City is rolling out stateside in select theaters June 16 and going nationwide on June 23 through Focus.