James Gray‘s Ad Astra follow up, Armageddon Time, just became one of the most stacked casts in recent years.
Having already secured Cate Blanchett for the lead role, Robert De Niro, Oscar Isaac, Anne Hathaway and Donald Sutherland have all joined the period drama, per Deadline.
The film is based on Gray’s childhood memories, and is described as a big-hearted coming-of-age story that explores friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of an America poised to elect Ronald Reagan as president. It was previously described as drawing on the filmmaker’s own experiences at the Kew-Forest School, a private school where Fred Trump served on the board and Donald Trump was once a student.
It sounds different to almost all his other work, which has crossed through sci-fi, adventure and crime genres. He hopes to shoot in New York as soon as post-pandemic opportunities make it possible. Gray described the film to Deadline:
“It’s about that transition and how it reflects on what the American society was and sadly still is. How we are separated along the lines of class and ethnicity […] what we’re seeing right now is playing out of many of the themes that it was my ambition to explore in the first place. This obsession I have with examining American ideas of class mobility, to do it in a context that is humane with social impact”.
It’s unclear who anyone is playing in the film. It was previously noted that the principal of the school will be a key character, but any of the five announced actors could play that role. So we’ll have to wait and see. But a cast this strong, with a director who’s quietly never made anything close to a bad film, addressing topical themes through the myth of the past, sounds pretty fantastic.