One of the most unique and popular directors of the generation, Wes Anderson, wrote and directed his 11th feature film ‘Asteroid City,’ which is a science fiction romantic movie that chronicles the events that unfold at a Junior Stargazer convention as various students and parents gather for the scholarly competition from across the country. It features an ensemble cast that includes numerous Hollywood heavyweights, such as the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, and Tony Revolori.
Set in the retro-futuristic version of 1955 in a fictional and remote American desert town, the comedy-drama movie also consists of the typical celebration of colors that are associated with a Wes Anderson directorial. The vast desert landscape matched with the bright and colorful visuals tends to paint a question in the audience’s mind about the actual filming sites of ‘Asteroid City.’ If you are one such curious soul, we have got you covered!
Asteroid City Filming Locations
‘Asteroid City’ was filmed in Spain and Arizona, especially in the Community of Madrid. Originally set for shooting in Rome, the principal photography for the romantic drama film reportedly commenced in August 2021 and wrapped up in October of the same year, with all the health and safety precautions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic at the time. Now, let’s not waste any time and find out all the specific locations that represent the fictional desert town called Asteroid City in the Wes Anderson directorial!
Community of Madrid, Spain
Almost the entirety of ‘Asteroid City’ was lensed in the Community of Madrid, one of the 17 Spanish autonomous communities. To be specific, the production team set up camp in the towns and municipalities of Chinchón and Colmenar de Oreja, where they constructed several sets in order to resemble the desert landscape and the mock train station of the fictional town. They even made sure to add minute details into the sets, such as red sand desert, period cars, and colorful buildings.
The director and his team started laying the groundwork for securing the required land to construct the city set in the autumn of 2020. Since they needed to reserve a significant portion of land, they had to negotiate with different people and somehow convince them to rent them at the same time. In a May 2023 interview with Screendaily, Fernando Victoria de Lecea, CEO of Spanish service company Meñakoz Films, had quite a few words to say about this subject. He said, “To get the 60 hectares we needed we had to deal with 140 landowners, farmers that do not necessarily know about the film industry.”
De Lecea further expanded, “We rented the land for two years because they could not sow next year’s crop while we were filming. We did it all in time, analyzing the soil to choose the right type of red earth to cover the surface with. We also had to remove the landmarks of the different properties.” On the other hand, one of the stars, Bryan Cranston, had a conversation with Screen Rant about his experience working with Wes Anderson and filming ‘Asteroid City.’
The ‘Breaking Bad‘ actor explained, “We did this movie coming up, Asteroid City, in Spain, and it wasn’t easy work. Working for Wes is not easy. It’s very detailed and very specific and so you really have to really concentrate hard. What offsets that is the congeniality and the togetherness of the experience. We’re all at this five-star hotel in Spain and every single night is a banquet. Every single night you are exchanging thoughts and laughter and someone brings a guitar, and you’re singing, and you’re talking. It’s just so familial. It’s like fulfilling an actor dream camp. It was a really, really great experience albeit, again, the work was very specific and very difficult.”
To shoot some additional portions for ‘Asteroid City,’ the filming unit traveled to Arizona, which is located in the Southwestern United States. They seemingly recorded a few exterior shots on location against suitable backdrops. Thus, it is likely that you might spot a number of popular destinations or attractions in the backdrop of some key sequences. Some of them are the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the Phoenix Art Museum, Agua Fria National Monument, the Grand Canyon, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and Historic Heritage Square.