Wes Anderson and Jake Perlin’s “Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval”
By LARB Radio HourJuly 21, 2023
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Kate Wolf is joined by filmmaker Wes Anderson and film programmer and distributor Jake Perlin to discuss Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval, an anthology of works that influenced Anderson’s latest, Asteroid City, which is out in theaters now. The book, edited by Perlin, interprets different aspects of Asteroid City, including its setting, which is the American West (in a small town in the 1950s hosting a Junior Stargazers award ceremony) as well as its parallel existence as a televised stage play—another theme is the Broadway stage—and of course the movies themselves with the theme of mid-century cinema. Like Anderson’s film, the collection reveals an interwoven lattice of allusion, reference, and history; a deep and sometimes startling connection between American life, politics, and entertainment; the day to day realities of of being part of an ensemble and working on a theatrical production; as well some incredibly incisive film criticism with excellent essays on movies such as Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, and Lewis Allen’s Desert Fury.
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