By Léo Mazzella

Asteroid City, a tiny town nestled in the desert of the southwestern United States, serves as our cinematic stage. Picture yourself transported to the year 1955, where this enchanting locale garners fame for its colossal meteorite crater and the adjacent astronomical observatory. But hold on tight, for this weekend promises an extraordinary convergence of military personnel, astronomers, and the arrival of five exceptionally gifted children. These prodigies have been handpicked for their remarkable scientific creations, as they prepare to showcase their ingenious inventions to an eager audience.

Just a stone’s throw away, beyond the rolling hills, eerie atomic mushroom clouds rise, remnants of nuclear experiments. It’s as if Wes Anderson himself had donned his director’s hat to weave a narrative that seamlessly blends surrealist artistry with a touch of atomic absurdity.

Known for his distinctive style and meticulous attention to detail, Anderson has crafted a repertoire of cinematic gems that have left audiences awe-struck and yearning for more. From the eccentric yet endearing characters in « The Royal Tenenbaums » to the meticulously curated pastel palette of « The Grand Budapest Hotel, » Anderson’s films are an exquisite symphony of visual delight and storytelling finesse, and Asteroid City will without a doubt anchor his legacy in the  contemporary cinema landscape. 

With his signature aesthetic, Anderson possesses an uncanny ability to transport viewers into meticulously constructed worlds that reside somewhere between reality and a dreamscape. It’s as if he conjures his films from the depths of his imagination, imbuing each frame with a whimsical allure that captivates cinephiles and art enthusiasts alike. Just like our young prodigies in Asteroid City, Anderson’s protagonists often possess an extraordinary talent or an eccentric quirk that sets them apart from the mundane.

Speaking of protagonists, the stellar cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Hanks, Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton just to name a few. 

Joining this crew of well established actors, the talented Maya Hawke also plays in the upcoming movie. For the occasion, re-discover her interview for CRASH when she met with Armelle Leturcq just before the release of Stranger Things, back in July of 2019…

When did you start thinking about acting?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about acting… When the idea of playing pretend wasn’t appealing to me… When it wasn’t an integral part of the way I communicated and connected with my friends and family. I didn’t start seriously thinking about doing it professionally until my first audition, which led to my choice to study acting after high school as opposed to pursuing a traditional liberal arts education. Acting, improv, school plays – it was the only time I felt truly myself. How do you not try to pursue that feeling in a serious way? How do you not try to make it a part of your everyday life.

Growing up with parents in cinema, did it influence the way you approach acting?

My parents have incredible wisdom to offer me, both on the creative side and the more business-oriented side of the industry. The guidance and support I have received from them has been invaluable.

What was your first casting like? How did you prepare for it?

My first audition experience was for a very big budget studio film. So the audition process was rigorous: I had multiple call backs, screen tests, meetings – the works. While the movie did not end up happening, the fact that the director believed in me and supported me during the process that was at times both trying and degrading, gave me a confidence that I keep with me to this day.

Your first experience on screen was in Little Women, aired on the BBC. Can you tell me about that experience?

My experience on Little Women was remarkable. I made unbelievable friends that I still talk to at least every week. I got to experience independence and understand the hard work that goes into such elegant and historically significant material. It was an unbelievable honor to play Jo. I remember almost every day of my experience in Ireland, which is a testament to how valuable every minute of it was.

Was it your first time on a movie set? What did you enjoy the most about filming?

It wasn’t my first experience on a movie set. I practically grew up on movie sets: water colors in trailers, curling up on my mom’s feet while the make-up artists do their work, sitting by the monitor and watching every take… But Little Women was my first time having a real purpose and use on a movie set. I remember on my first day a PA came to my trailer and said, “They’re ready for you in make-up”, and I thought to myself, “who?” I couldn’t believe it was me they wanted! I had a job to do. It was such a wonderful feeling.

You’ll be starring in the next season of Stranger Things. Did you watch the show beforehand?

I actually hadn’t seen much of Stranger Things before I was cast. I was very involved with school when the show came out, and didn’t have much time to watch TV at that time in my life. But I knew my family watched it religiously. My first response once I got that audition was “Hell yes”, and then I sat down and watched both seasons. I fell in love with the imagination, suspense and warmth of the series.

How was it working with the crew? Did you get along well with the other actors?

The other actors are amazing. So talented and curious and playful. It was an honor to work alongside them. And the crew was supportive and brave and had an unbelievable endurance.

Are you a big sci-fi fan?

I wasn’t a huge sci-fi fan growing up. I mean I love Star Wars, and ET, Star Trek and Harry Potter. I guess Harry Potter is more fantasy, right? But I love it when art makes reality as big, colorful and scary as our inner worlds. I think the idea of realism is a myth. The experience that the characters on Stranger Things go through are just as relatable as any story that would be described as “realistic”. Our emotional experience of life is full of monsters and hidden realms, and powerful discoveries. Sci-fi and Fantasy just bring body to those feelings and bring them life.

Can you tell me a bit about your character in the show?

Robin is brave and intelligent, remarkably intelligent. She always says what she thinks. She also shows a strong personal growth throughout the show.

You’ll also be starring in Quentin Tarentino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Can you tell me about that project?

It was amazing working with Quentin. His knowledge and passion for filmmaking is incomparable. I have a very small part in the movie so I take no responsibility but some pride in the fact that I believe it will be excellent.

How much did you know about that period of time in cinema and music? Did you research a lot beforehand?

I have always been interested in the 60s. The energy, the music, the movements. I did a lot of research about a very dark chapter of that time to prepare for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood… It was fascinating and disturbing work to study the Mansons.

You’ve also been modelling. What is your relationship to fashion?

I think fashion is a beautiful art form. And there is a tremendous amount of room for play, self-discovery and experimenting with clothing and make-up. Often the way I start to build a character is outside in: how does this person walk? How did they dress? How do they do their make-up? How do they speak? All of that can inform the inner life of the character.
You can also play with your own changing identity through the way you dress. Who am I today? Who do I want to be? There was a time in my life where I would only dress like Annie Hall. A time I only dressed in ‘90s grunge. A time I only wore flowery dresses. I think those fashion choices reflect a lot on how I was feeling about myself at the time.

More generally, what inspires you?

What inspires me? My friends inspire me. I am so impressed by my generation. The way we are coming up in the world with love and curiosity, strong opinions and empathy. And then I love to read and watch movies and TV. I love to learn about the world: our history, our poetry, our pitfalls, and works of wonder. I have a lot left to learn: about the world, about myself, about my friends. Nothing excites and inspires me more than that.

What do you wish to accomplish with your acting career in the future?

As for my acting career, I hope to get to wear more disguises. Exist in more imaginary worlds, work with different kinds of people and challenge myself. Step out of my comfort zone.

Are you based in New York or Los Angeles? How important are your surroundings when you 


I think a lot about where a character is from when I’m working. I was born and raised in New York. I still live here. I love it here. I wouldn’t be who I am today without New York. The independence it afforded me at a young age. The people that it allowed me to meet. The things that it allowed me to do. I love to travel, but I’ll always come home.


Discover more festivaldecannes.com

a meeting with Maya Hawke – crash.fr

(L to R) Jake Ryan, Jason Schwartzman and Tom Hanks in director Wes Anderson’s ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features

Scarlett Johansson in director Wes Anderson’s ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features

(L to R) Fisher Stevens, Jeffrey Wright, Tony Revolori, and Bob Balaban in director Wes Anderson’s ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features

Steve Carell in director Wes Anderson’s ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features


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