The Oscar nominee plays self-proclaimed wild child and up-and-coming actress Nellie LaRoy in the 1920s-set period piece, which just released a new trailer. LaRoy is an amalgam of ’20s stars Clara Bow, Jeanne Eagels, Joan Crawford, and Alma Rubens. With dreams of reaching stardom, Nellie crosses paths with aging icon Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), inspired by John Gilbert, Clark Gable, and Douglas Fairbanks.
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Per the official “Babylon” synopsis, Chazelle’s film is an original epic set in 1920s Los Angeles led by Pitt, Robbie and Diego Calva, with an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, and Jean Smart. A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.”
The ensemble includes Samara Weaving, Li Jun Li, Katherine Waterston, Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, Lukas Haas, Jovan Adepo, Tobey Maguire (who also executive produces), and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. Max Minghella is playing the only real-life figure included in the historical fiction feature, studio exec Irving Thalberg.
“La La Land” director Chazelle writes and directs the feature, which he called an ode to the “wild West” of the Roaring Twenties. Robbie called the film “the hardest” she’s ever worked on and described herself as a “masochist” for the role.
“She’s so exhausting. She took everything from me,” Robbie said of playing the character during an Academy Q&A earlier this month. “I had written on the front of my script, ‘Demand their full attention always.’ She did it to me. She demanded everything physically and emotionally. By the end of the first week of shooting, I came home to my husband and said, ‘This is the hardest I’ve ever worked.’ This movie is something. Damien expects so much of you as an actor.”
Co-star Eric Roberts, who plays LaRoy’s father, compared Robbie’s performance to Elizabeth Taylor’s in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
“Babylon” premieres in theaters nationwide December 23 from Paramount.
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