Eight hours before the world premiere of James Gray
’s “Ad Astra
,” the writer-director was enjoying a quiet catnap on the bed of his Venice hotel room. And yet, for all the jet-lag he felt after flying in from Los Angeles the previous day, Gray sprang into action without missing a step. He popped to his feet, splashed a few drops of cold water in his face, and detailed the ups and downs of a rough night’s sleep with all the gravitas of a Greek tragedy. He’d only been awake for about 30 seconds and he was already hot with the kind of amiable Jewish agita that lets you know that everything is totally fine.
If not for the anxious publicist who was pacing around the hallway outside, you wouldn’t have guessed that Gray was about to unveil the biggest film he’s ever made. An intimate blockbuster