Damien Chazelle skyrocketed with his freshman effort, Whiplash, earning an Academy Award win for J.K. Simmons. Chazelle then went on to do a tribute to Hollywood in the musical La La Land, which earned him a Best Director Oscar and was nearly thought to have won an Academy Award for Best Picture before Moonlight would take home the award in an infamous award show snafu. Vanity Fair has a look at his newest effort, the period film titled Babylon.
Babylon is a spiritual follow-up to La La Land, whereas the latter dealt with the world of Hollywood showbiz in the modern age, told through an old-fashioned musical, this new film is a celebration of the genesis of Tinseltown. Chazelle tells Vanity Fair in an interview, “The basic idea was just to do a big, epic, multi-character movie, set in these early days of Los Angeles and Hollywood when both of these 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 the movie is said to take place is the 1920s, when the movie business was budding into the new world of “talkies” after years of silent film. With this new evolution of cinema, it would also bring in a new sensibility of fame, money, and power.
The French-American director had been “putting it off because it was just a little too massive.” When he went on to direct the historical drama First Man, starring La La Land collaborator Ryan Gosling, he knew he could finally put his ideas down in a script.
The movie would be reuniting 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 movies brought in an era of uncertainty in an ever-evolving climate in the medium. Chazelle tells Vanity Fair, “everything is shifting underneath people’s feet. And I became really fascinated by the human cost of disruption at that magnitude, 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 will hit theaters on December 25.