Last week was a great time to be speaking with Scarlett Johansson and Jason Schwartzman. The former is an actress I’ve championed for years, so her double Oscar nominations in 2019 did feel like a touch of vindication. The latter, a Wes Anderson regular, is currently one of the biggest supervillains in the world, providing the voice for The Spot in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. So, sitting down with them during the press day for Asteroid City was a definite treat. Earlier in the week, you were able to see my conversations with Hope Davis and Stephen Park (here), as well as Adrien Brody and Jeffrey Wright (here). Today, it’s Johansson and Schwartzman’s turns!
In my review of Asteroid City (here), I said the following about the cast, led by Johansson and Schwartzman:
Part of why Anderson’s latest effort doesn’t fully bounce off of me is this cast. In particular, newcomers to his troupe like Tom Hanks and especially Scarlett Johansson shine, while Jason Schwartzman has never been better. Hanks is relishing just being a small part of the crew, that’s for sure. Johansson and Schwartzman have lovely chemistry, with the former tapping into her old-school starlet charms, while the latter gets to be brooding yet lovable. Adrien Brody and Jeffrey Wright are certainly making the most of their limited screen time, as are Bryan Cranston, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, and Liev Schreiber, There’s also Hope Davis and Stephen Park as parents at the convention (both very enjoyable), as well as Steve Carell getting laughs as a Hotel Manager with some interesting ways to make a buck. The rest of the stacked ensemble includes Hong Chau, Matt Dillon, Grace Edwards, Rupert Friend, Jeff Goldblum, Maya Hawke, Tony Revolori, Margot Robbie, Jake Ryan, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, and more. Overall, it’s one of the more consistent ensembles for this particular auteur.
Below, you can see my discussion with Johansson and Schwartzman. As with all of these Asteroid City chats, we had almost no time (the negative aspect of a TV style interview, though the higher production values and in person nature are nice pluses, to be sure), so I just sort of teed them up to talk. The connection that the pair have in the film is a large part of why it works, so getting to hear them break it down a bit was truly interesting. The movie is undeniably elevated by an Anderson first-timer and an Anderson veteran, which is always nice to see. Give the flick a look, of course, but also check out this interview next…
Here now is my interview with Asteroid City stars Scarlett Johansson and Jason Schwartzman. Enjoy:
Asteroid City is in theaters now!