[Updated]: Just a few hours after we reported Emma Stone was circling Damien Chazelle‘s Babylon, Deadline shared that Brad Pitt was also reportedly in talks for the film. Pitt is apparently not yet locked in for the film, similar to Stone. It’s also unclear what role he may be in talks for tackling. This would be Pitt’s first time working with Chazelle and Stone but it would be his second film in just a few years where he would travel by to the early days of Hollywood. Deadline’s update on Pitt circling Babylon also confirms this film will be “solidly in the R-rated category,” his first since Whiplash to be up for the rating. Our original story is below.
Fans of La La Land will be happy to hear that writer-director Damien Chazelle and star Emma Stone may be reuniting in a new project. Dubbed Babylon, the 1920s-set piece will be a Hollywood story about the movie industry’s transition from silent films to “talkies.” Chazelle wrote the piece and will direct it as his next film if and when a studio or streaming service steps up to take on the project. But it’s been making the financing rounds for a month or so now without a commitment; could the period pic be too pricey and overlong for
As THR reports, Lionsgate, Paramount and Netflix, among others, have shown interest in Babylon but have yet to sign a deal for the reported 180 page-long script that is budgeted between $80 and $100 million. On one hand, financiers may be reluctant to pony up that kind of scratch for a period piece that may not resonate with modern audiences; and on the other hand, La La Land banked almost a half-a-billion dollars along with 14 Oscars nominations. Someone will eventually decide that it’s worth the gamble.
Other than the fact that Babylon will center on Hollywood’s shift away from silent films in the 1920s, details are non-existent, but there’s the added angle of bringing both fictional and historical characters into the story. For example, Clara Bow, Hollywood’s first “It” girl who found stardom in the silent films and managed to transition into talkies, is said to be at the center of the piece with Stone unofficially attached to play the part. With nearly 60 films to her credit, Bow was the face of the Roaring Twenties and a sex symbol of that decade, enjoying a popularity that made her film appearances sure-fire box-office earners and also let her retire under her own terms. In a similarly plotted 2013 movie Return to Babylon, the part was played by Jennifer Tilly, though this film, too, struggled to find a traditional distribution deal.
As for Babylon, Marc Platt and Olivia Hamilton are attached to produce. Stay tuned for more as we hear it.