Damien Chazelle blew away with his freshman effort, Whiplash, garnering an Oscar win for JK Simmons. Chazelle then continued with a tribute to Hollywood in the musical La La Landwhich earned him an Oscar for Best Director and was thought to have almost won an Oscar for Best Picture before Moonlight would take home the prize in an infamous awards snafu. Vanity Fair has a look at his newest effort, the period film of the title Babylon.
Babylon is a spiritual follow-up to La La Land, while the latter was about the showbiz world of Hollywood in the modern age, told through an old-school musical, this new film is a celebration of the making of Tinseltown. Chazelle tells Vanity Fair in an interview, “The basic idea was just to make a big, epic, multi-character movie set in those early days of Los Angeles and Hollywood, when both of those things were coming into what we now think of them as.”
Chazelle has been brainstorming the film for fifteen years, ever since the director moved to Los Angeles. The era in which the film is said to take place is the 1920s, when the film industry was emerging into the new world of “snacks” after years of silent films. With this new development of the cinema, it would also bring in a new sense of fame, money and power.
The French-American director had been “postponing it because it was just a little too massive.” As he went on to direct the historical drama First mancontributor La La Land collaborator Ryan Gosling, he knew he could finally put his ideas into a screenplay.
The film would be reunited Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Joining them is newcomer Diego Calva, and Chazelle’s aim would be to show how the golden age of film ushered in an era of uncertainty in a climate of constant evolution in the medium. Chazelle tells Vanity Fair, “everything is moving under people’s feet. And I was really fascinated by the human cost of disruption on that scale, at a time when there was no road map, when everything was just new and wild.” The film will also star Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, Jean Smart and Tobey Maguire.
Babylon coming to the cinema December 25.