‘Babylon’ Team Finds Just The Right Notes To Set Tone

Drug-induced decadence is nothing new in Los Angeles, but director Damien Chazelle sought to capture it in its extreme in Babylon, his exploration of 1920s Hollywood during the advent of the “talkies era.”

The film features a glittering cast including Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Olivia Wilde and Samara Weaving, but one new face is Calva, who plays rising film producer Manny Torres. Calva is an established actor in Mexico, but Babylon represents his first American film.

He recalled his unique introduction to one of his co-stars when Chazelle asked him to come to California and pretend to be a PA on a commercial he was filming with Pitt.

“So, I came to California and then Damian told me ‘Actually, you’re gonna pretend you’re a PA on this commercial. I want you to work in this commercial as my assistant.’ So I was at work for two days in the commercial. I have like my backpack full of Coca-Cola … and I met Brad that way, as a PA, and he was great. And then Mary [Zophres] said the secret like, ‘Brad, have you met Diego? He’s acting in Babylon.’ And Brad turned to me and Damon and said, ‘I think somebody has something to explain to me.’ “

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Brad Pitt Says He Already Considers Director Damien Chazelle “One Of The Great” Filmmakers

Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle’s audacious new film “Babylon” is out in the world. Or rather, the highly-anticipated movie, the last major Oscar contender of the year (Unless “Avatar 2” surprises), has been seen by critics in New York and LA, and the responses to the wild film have been dividing.

The post-film Q&A was lively and eventful, with various mishaps adding to the pratfall-like comedy. Brad Pitt almost fell backward out of his chair at the beginning of the discussion, luckily catching himself with the help of some help from Robbie and Smart. Later on, his microphone didn’t work, which led to further antics.

Brad Pitt tried to answer a question about the tracking shots and choreography and then threw his non-functioning mic behind him in frustration, causing an eruption of laughter. He eventually borrowed Robbie’s microphone. “I shot the first four days, [witnessed] some amazing choreography, and it was raucous, and it was bawdy, and it had this great energy to it, and half the background is naked, and they’re snorting cocaine off someone’s ass,” Pitt explained. “And then I had three days off, and I came back, and it was still going. I was like, oh my god.”

“I still marvel how much this man got in one shot,” Pitt continued. “I’ve never quite seen it. I’ve been really fortunate to work with some of the great filmmakers, and I already consider Damien Chazelle one of the greats.”

The actor described the screenplay when he first read it as “something spectacular … a very visceral read … It’s extreme, it’s big, it’s bawdy, and at the same time underneath it, there’s just real heart and need for meaning.”

“None of us really matter in it,” Pitt said of his character and all the other characters in the film, one of the themes being cinema will outlast us all. “But we’re all a piece, a little piece of this art of storytelling, and I feel pretty damn honored.”

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Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and (Gasp!) Martha Stewart Surface in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Holiday Ad

Gwyneth Paltrow knows that the holidays are about bringing families together — even if that includes an ex-lover or a rival media queen.

Paltrow’s 14-year-old lifestyle and wellness company Goop released a video on Wednesday promoting its annual gift guides, curated lists of the finest (and, often, most expensive and impractical) presents.

Suggesting everything from a $239 satin baguette sleeve to a $250,000 vintage Ford Bronco, Paltrow has made it a tradition to tip her hand and reveal what she’s gifting celebrity friends. This year, Santa is bringing the following, according to the video: hand towels featuring the Kama Sutra for Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker; Goopgenes eye de-puffing masks for Brad Pitt; a vibrator for Drew Barrymore; and $30 cured ham from Mercado Famous to upgrade Bella Hadid’s viral Tik Tok sandwich recipe.

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Damien Chazelle’s ‘Babylon’ With Brad Pitt & Margot Robbie Screens For Hollywood Crowd

One of the most anticipated presumed Oscar contenders, and one of the very few remaining to debut before year-end, dropped last night (11-14) with the first screening of Academy Award winning director Damien Chazelle’s Babylon.

As for possible acting nominations, Robbie has the showiest role and goes all in. Lead Actress is tough this year but she’s putting it all on display in an impressive turn so she will have supporters. Calva’s Manny gets a slow build but socks it home by the end. But perhaps the single best written and performed scene, for me at least, was between Jean Smart’s feared gossip columnist and Pitt’s fading movie star as she brutally gives him the truth about his career. Though she is in the film throughout, this is the one scene where Smart really gets her moment and the actress delivers it chillingly. Supporting Actress is tough this year, but there could be a place for her. Pitt, here ‘Once Upon Another Time In Hollywood, is really impressive, underplaying much of it, but giving a funny, wise, and ultimately poignant performance that deserves to put him back in contention. The studio will campaign him for Supporting, feeling the lead is actually Calva. Maguire, by the way, is truly creepy and certainly memorable in his scenes that come toward the end.

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‘Babylon’ First Reactions Are All Over the Place

Paramount has pulled the curtain back on “Babylon,” Damien Chazelle’s period comedy documenting the excess of the early age of Hollywood. An early screening Monday evening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills has opened the floodgates for first reactions.

The 188-minute epic represents a return to awards season for Chazelle, who became the youngest best director Oscar winner ever in 2016 for his work helming “La La Land.” His subsequent Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man” and his Sundance breakout “Whiplash” also made sizable dents in their respective awards runs.

Margot Robbie, Diego Calva and Brad Pitt lead “Babylon,” among a stacked cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Jean Smart, Li Jun Li and Jovan Adepo. Chazelle has described the film as being inspired by Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” Robert Altman’s “Nashville” and “The Godfather” — “old-school epics that managed, through a handful of characters, to convey a society changing.”

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Exploring Babylon, Damien Chazelle’s star-studded new movie

The Oscar-winning director reveals the inspirations for his highly anticipated period drama featuring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and more.

Damien Chazelle is a bit tired. When he calls EW in early October, he’s still hard at work putting the finishing touches on Babylon, his sweeping epic (out Dec. 23) about the rise and fall of a menagerie of characters played by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Olivia Wilde, and newcomer Diego Calva. They’re all striving to survive amid a great upheaval in 1920s Hollywood as it transitions from silent films to talkies.

The film has been a massive undertaking, which surprised the youngest-ever Best Director Oscar winner (for 2016’s La La Land). “The whole process of making it has been longer than I expected,” Chazelle, 37, admits. “But at the same time I was pinching myself, because this project has been a dream for so long. So actually getting to make it, as taxing as it might have been, was a pretty blissful experience.”

Read more. Interesting read!

The First Songs From the ‘Babylon’ Score Sound as Wild as Damien Chazelle’s Next Film Looks

THE FIRST OFFERINGS from the soundtrack to Damien Chazelle’s roaring Twenties Hollywood flick Babylon have arrived with a wild energy to match the film’s hedonistic vibe.

The two songs, “Call Me Manny” and “Voodoo Mama,” are both pulsating blasts of hot jazz stuffed with thundering drums and boozy horns. Composer Justin Hurwitz — who helmed the entire 48-track score — gave Rolling Stone some context for the two songs, too.

“Call Me Manny” plays when Diego Calva’s character, Manny Torres, is thrust into “the whirlwind of a new job.” Meanwhile, “Voodoo Mama” helps kick everything off, blaring as Margot Robbie’s character Nellie LaRoy “takes over the dance floor at the party” that starts the film.

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How ‘Babylon’ Roars Through the 1920s

The writer-director Damien Chazelle and the production designer Florencia Martin discuss how they captured the excess of a period when Hollywood was heading for a reckoning.

After he turned the streets of Los Angeles into a playground and a dance floor for the musical “La La Land,” you might think the writer and director Damien Chazelle would have little left to mine from the location.

But it’s a big, big city.

His latest film, “Babylon” (out Dec. 23), aims to be even more extravagant in capturing the indulgent, mythical nature of the place where starry dreams are made (and dashed). It follows multiple characters through a period in the 1920s when Hollywood, high on the success of silent films, began experiencing growing pains and significant collateral damage from the transition into the sound era.

But before those problems set in, very little about the period, or the way it is portrayed in this film, is scaled back. Instead, Chazelle and his team want to capture what it might have been like to be swirling around in the excess of those early days, when the movies were silent but the living was not.

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