While being an actor can often seem like a cushy career, the reality is that all professions have, to put it lightly, less-than-ideal days on the job.
Take making a Wes Anderson movie, for example. Think it’s just a bunch of cute costumes and ornate sets in pristinely air-conditioned warehouse sets? To quote the great Lee Corso, not so fast my friend! Some days, in fact, you might find yourself under siege from a hostile local community of black flies with a seemingly unshakeable commitment to their cause under the sweltering Spanish sun.
Speaking to Scarlett Johansson and Jason Schwartzman — the two leads of Asteroid City‘s star-studded ensemble cast — BroBible’s Post-Credit Podcast asked if there were any particular challenges and/or rewards of filming so much of the film in separate rooms.
The pair, however, didn’t speak to the craft of acting but rather immediately had what only could be described as usually-seen-in-the-movies Vietnam War-esque flashback to their struggles against the aforementioned Spanish flies (where Asteroid City was filmed), who apparently used the kamikaze method as one of their tactics.
“Those damn flies,” Johansson says almost immediately. “The flies!” Schwartzman agrees.
Scarlett Johansson and Jason Schwartzman found themselves under siege from a hostile community of flies while filming #AsteroidCity
— Post Cred Pod (@PostCredPod) June 13, 2023
“Remember those flies? What was that? I don’t know. There was a… time of day? I don’t know, when did they come?” the pair pondered as they virtually finished each other’s sentences.
“Yes, you’re right, time of day!” Schwartzman said.
“At a certain time of day, we had these black flies that infested — I don’t know, obviously it’s something to do with the temperature and the pressure of the air, whatever it is. And they would come and it was so loud and so annoying. It was obscene, it was a lot. You were attacked. You would be completely kamikazied by these black flies,” Johansson said.
Schwartzman then did touch on how that actually impacted their performances, saying that it was a testament to Johansson’s professionalism that was able to do a scene with a fly planted on her forehead.
“You would watch Scarlett do a scene and a fly would land on her nose, and she’s doing the scene, and she’s trying to be really professional and she’s doing this incredible job, hoping the fly is going to leave,” Schwartzman recalls.
“But at some point it’s pretty clear that the fly is going to hang out there for a bit. And, well, it shows you how professional and great she is that she’d just keep going with a fly there. But these flies… maybe they would just get stuck on you. But it was like a joke. It was like a fly person came with a bucket full.”
When I then suggested I should go back and see if I can tell which scenes are “fly takes”, Schwartzman and Johansson instantly and simultaneously responded: “They’re everywhere.”
In addition to Schwartzman and Johansson, Asteroid City stars Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Steve Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, Jake Ryan, and Jeff Goldblum. The film hits theaters in the United States on Friday, June 23.