Wes Anderson is having a bit of a moment: a brand new film out, and a TikTok trend to boot. Asteroid City features a characteristic ensemble cast and the auteur’s signature quirky directorial style, transporting the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Willem Dafoe and Margot Robbie to a retro-future stargazing convention in the Americana desert in 1955. Fancy living the accidentally Wes Anderson life to the max? Here’s where Asteroid City was filmed – plus, how to visit.
Where Was Asteroid City Filmed? (& Can You Visit?)
Where Was Asteroid City Filmed?
Asteroid City was filmed close to Madrid in Spain, specifically near Chinchón, a small town 50 km from Madrid, despite being set in western America. The titular town, Asteroid City, was totally constructed for filming, including the train station, diner, garage and observatory, ‘in a farm field about halfway between the little town of Chinchón and the next town over, Colmenar de Oreja’, production designer Adam Stockhausen told Conde Nast Traveller.
Though Chinchón isn’t actually a desert – the land is typically used for farming chickpeas and watermelons – the flatness attracted the Asteroid City team to the location. ‘One thing that was appealing about the area […] was that we needed the big sky feeling that you get in the American West,’ producer Jeremy Dawson told Conde Nast Traveller. ‘We wanted good weather, for big bright blue skies to contrast the earth. We also had some beautiful shots getting into magic hour and into dusk, as the sky darkens, that would just take your breath away. Every day, we’d just find ourselves saying, “Look at these clouds!”.’
‘Wes likes shooting in Europe,’ Jeremy added. ‘It really works for us. And there’s a long history of shooting the American West in Spain.’
Can You Visit?
Yes, although, because the set was built entirely for filming, don’t expect to be able to visit the iconic locations seen in the film. Adam said this was because filming in existing buildings ‘somehow wasn’t as much fun’. ‘It’s important to note that even in the film, this isn’t a real town,’ he told Conde Nast Traveller. ‘At the beginning, we wondered about using a real town and looked at the sites where they shot all of these Westerns in Spain. We asked, you know, what if our luncheonette and our gas station and all our pieces were in some of those existing sites? And it somehow wasn’t as much fun. It didn’t quite work the same way as making our own town.’
If you’d like to soak up some of the Wes Anderson magic, however, book a stay at Parador de Chinchón, where the entire cast and crew stayed during filming. A 17th century converted monastery, expect plenty of exposed brick, cloisters and fruit trees.
Asteroid City arrives in UK cinemas on 23 June 2023.
Featured image: Writer/director Wes Anderson on the set of ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Image courtesy of Roger Do Minh/Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features.