Damien Chazelle is among the most sought after young filmmakers in Hollywood. From his breakout 2014 hit “Whiplash” to 2016’s “La La Land” and 2018’s “First Man,” the intrepid auteur pens plots and shoots dazzling drama like few others.
His next project, “Babylon,” is due to hit theaters Dec. 25, 2022. The movie is currently in production, with actors Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire most recently seen in late August reporting to the Los Angeles set.
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Much about the film is still under wraps. Yet with a little digging, here’s everything known about “Babylon,” one of the more anticipated movies presently filming.
Chazelle’s track record as a filmmaker and talent-friendly director precedes him. It also helps when Academy Awards seemingly follow in his wake, with his three prior feature films racking up a staggering 23 Oscar nominations and 10 wins.
Accordingly, everybody who is anybody in Hollywood wants to work with the writer-director, which is reflective of the star-studded ensemble cast of “Babylon.”
In addition to Pitt, Robbie, and Maguire, the complete cast list includes … deep breath … Katherine Waterston, Max Minghella, Flea, Samara Weaving, Rory Scovel, Lukas Haas, Eric Roberts, P.J. Byrne, Damon Gupton, Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, Phoebe Tonkin, Jean Smart, Li Jun Li, Jovan Adepo, Diego Calva, Chloe Fineman, Jeff Garlin and Troy Metcalf.
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This is where things get interesting. Chazelle is returning from orbit to once again shine a spotlight on the glitz and glam of Los Angeles. “Babylon” delves into the early years of Hollywood’s Golden Age, set in the 1920s during the movie industry’s transition from silent films to talkies.
“Babylon” will explore the rise and fall of multiple characters, who are a blend of real and fictional individuals. Brad Pitt’s character is reported to be based on John Gilbert, a silent film star whose career declined when talkies started taking over. Margot Robbie is playing actress Clara Bow, who successfully made the transition to talkies and came to personify the Roaring Twenties. Then there’s Jean Smart, playing what is presumed to be the fictional character of a Hollywood journalist/critic who can make or break careers.
Blend it all together like a cocktail of the era and the result is what has been described as “‘The Great Gatsby’ on steroids.”
The film’s limited release date of Dec. 25, 2022 and wide release date of Jan. 6, 2023, may seem like a long time away, but it’s actually worse than that for those who have been watching this project like a hawk. “Babylon” secured a California state tax credit ages ago and was supposed to begin production in July 2020. However, the pandemic slammed the breaks on those plans. The silver lining? The delay no doubt gave Chazelle an entire year to make the script even better and bolder than ever.
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