Fans of Wes Anderson’s whimsical style and eccentric world-building can take a trip to the director’s desert frontier, Asteroid City, this month thanks to an expansive exhibition at London’s 180 The Strand.
Curated and presented by 180 Studios and Universal Pictures UK, the immersive show coincides with Asteroid City’s UK box office release on 123 June 2023. It offers fans a deep dive into the auteur’s elaborate world-building via original film sets, props and costumes – and a chance to grab a bite in a 1950s Anderson diner.
Set in 1955, Asteroid City is Anderson’s 11th major feature film. Its quirky plot follows a grieving widower as he takes a trip to the desert town of Asteroid City with his space-obsessed children to compete in a Junior Stargazer and Space Cadet convention on ‘Asteroid Day’.
As usual, Anderson enlisted a stellar ensemble cast to tell the story, including ‘newcomers’ Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, Maya Hawke, Tom Hanks, Matt Dillon and Hong Chau, and familiar collaborators Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, Stephen Park, Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum.
The Asteroid City exhibition lets viewers immerse themselves in Anderson’s aesthetic, moving through a world somewhere between reality and fantasy. Symmetrical sets – including the telephone box Jason Schwartzman uses to tell Tom Hanks that the family car has exploded in the desert– are daubed in the director’s signature saturated colours, with spaces enlivened by his carefully curated soundtrack. There are even pastel-coloured vending machines stocked with snacks, cigarettes, and ammunition for the townsfolk, miniature trains and rockets.
After trekking through the exhibition, guests can refuel by grabbing a quick bite at 1950s diner, the Luncheonette recreated at 180 Studios, down to its menu of pancakes, cherry pies and milkshakes, and signature martinis.
Asteroid City runs daily at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand, London WC2R 1EA, until 8 July 2023. Tickets are available online, priced at £15 for general admission (concessions £9 and under 12s free).