Director Damien Chazelle writes a new love letter to Hollywood in the visually ambitious epic “Babylon,” a story that harks back to a time when silent films were being overtaken by the first “talkies” of the silver screen. Frequent collaborator and cinematographer Linus Sandgren (“La La Land”) developed a visual grammar rich in realism, capturing environments on celluloid with anamorphic lenses. Lighting sources were made to mimic the look of the time period while offering the distinct painterly palette found in Chazelle’s projects. “We took to the extremes a bit more on this film because it needed to have a bit of attitude in the language,” Sandgren says.
Exteriors provided the perfect playground for the Oscar-winning cinematographer to shoot the settings hot and overexposed, which created a contrast with the darker, moody interiors. For a very meta scene that has high-profile actor Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) scurrying up a hill to kiss a princess (Natasha Kalimada) at sunset, the picturesque moment was shot over five days only in the golden hour. “It’s how filmmaking feels for us,” Sandgren notes.
“Every morning, we thought we were never going to make the day. Then at the end, it’s a great joyous moment that we got it.”
• x001 Babylon – Movie Stills.
Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, “Babylon”
Costume Design: “Babylon”
Make Up & Hair: “Babylon”
Original Score: “Babylon”
Production Design: “Babylon”
Check out the entire list right here. So excited for Brad and this movie! Some of Plan B’s productions are also nominated!
A Two-Hour Version of ‘Babylon’ Shot on Damien Chazelle’s iPhone Exists: ‘It Was a Very Uncommon Situation’
Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” is one of the biggest box office bombs of the year, opening to just $5.3 million over the four-day Christmas weekend despite a production budget north of $80 million. Many box office pundits have cited the film’s gargantuan 189-minute runtime as one reason the Hollywood epic failed to connect with audiences. “Babylon” clocks in at three hours and nine minutes long, but it turns out Chazelle has a far shorter and far scrappier version of the film on his iPhone.
During a recent Los Angeles Q&A for the movie (via Entertainment Weekly), Chazelle revealed that he prepared for “Babylon” by filming a two-hour cut of the movie in his backyard. The “La La Land” Oscar winner shot the project on his iPhone. This two-hour version of “Babylon” only starred two actors: Diego Calva, who plays assistant-turned-producer Manny Torres in the film, and Olivia Hamilton, who stars as director Ruth Adler and also happens to be Chazelle’s wife.
Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert and Rudolph Valentino
Brad Pitt has said he modeled his character, Jack Conrad, on Fairbanks, Gilbert and Valentino. Valentino exists in “Babylon” (his death in 1926 is mentioned), and unlike Jack, who sometimes pretends to be Italian, Valentino was born in Italy. Fairbanks and Gilbert are commonly cited as great silent leading men whose popularity petered out with sound, but there are sound movies in which they appear perfectly comfortable. (When Gilbert played opposite Greta Garbo in “Queen Christina” in 1933, the New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall praised him as “far more restrained” than in silents.) Both men died young, although their fates differed from Jack’s.
Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt can’t get you into the most rip-roaring Hollywood parties, but with their latest film, “Babylon,” they can give you a taste of the singular magic of a movie set.
Art imitates stressful life in a massive scene early on during Damien Chazelle’s over-the-top ode to old Hollywood. In “Babylon” (in theaters Friday), filmmakers are trying to line up a key shot in a silent costume drama where A-list power player Jack Conrad (Pitt) plants a kiss on his leading lady just as extras bang around in swords and shields behind them, an orchestra plays, an explosion goes off and the sun sets – all at the same time. And that had to be like clockwork for Chazelle and Co., too.
“I’m so excited that people who aren’t in the movie industry can watch this and be a part of that moment,” Robbie says. “Because if I could give that to everyone in the world, I would.”