The colors are captivating yet always mildly unsettling. These pigments mark the entry into a new imaginary realm, instantly recognizable and at the same time somewhat alien, like a television studio. The interplay between the familiar and the strange, like theater and cinema, is a fundamental theme in Anderson’s films, and like most films, life is much like, but always different. . What makes the difference is the art—how voices, sensibilities, techniques, crafts, money, luck, and a turmoil of thrilling and frightening existence are collected, organized, and unleashed upon the world.
The first section of the play, divided into acts, opens with the introduction of the war photographer, newly widowed Auggie Steenbeck, played by method actor Jones Hall. Auggie, his brilliant teenage son Woodrow (Jake Ryan), and his three young daughters celebrate the day a meteorite hit nearby (September 23, 3007 BC!). Visiting for Asteroid Day. , leaving a crater that is now overlooked by observatories. Many more visitors show up, including teachers with lots of children, singing cowboys, and parents with teens who, like Woodrow, are Asteroid Day contestants.
Together with Scarlett Johansson, Schwartzman fills the film’s expressive core with humor and impeccable timing. Johansson has also acted as both an actor and a character. In her play, she is Midge Campbell, a sexy Hollywood star who rolls into town with her own boy prodigy and bodyguards. Midge and Auggie meet cutely at the diner, but their relationship blossoms while in their respective rental cabins. There, surrounded by windows, they face each other and open up, with a somewhat deadpan and decidedly Anderson screwball-like way of speaking, giving a snappy performative front that gradually gives way to deeper emotion. .
Anderson regularly alternates between TV storylines and street dramas, gradually weaving them into meaningful, dynamic and moving plays. Both have crises, self-doubts, conflicts, challenges, and debates about art and life. He packs a lot into this film, including cinematic allusions and theatrical lore. The setting is September 1955, the month James Dean died in another arid Southwest wilderness. There is an audition for Jones and a playwright, reminiscent of Brando’s famous audition for Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.