Hollywood has largely turned the page on its drug-related excesses, explained Monday Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, stars of the film “Babylon” devoted to the hedonistic Hollywood of the Roaring 1920s and entered the race for the Oscars.
The highly anticipated Paramount film, directed by Damien Chazelle (“La La Land,” “Whiplash”), screened to critics for the first time Monday night at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. (United States) which presents these prestigious awards every year.
Tobey Maguire and Jean Smart also star in the film, which chronicles the destinies of mostly fictional Hollywood actors and directors trying to make the transition from silent to talkies, but also a lifestyle of disheveled cocaine-dusted parties and chaotic shoots. , explicit images in support.
“There are a lot less drugs in Hollywood these days,” said Margot Robbie, when asked in a post-screening debate whether the film made her nostalgic for a so-called “golden age.” ” of the film industry. “Unfortunately, it’s true!”, joked Brad Pitt.
“Babylon” is one of the latest Oscar nominees to be pitched at the Academy. The film will be released on December 23 in North America – just in time to be eligible for the Oscars in March – before a wider release in January. Reviews remain under embargo.
Elephants and topless dancers
Franco-American Damien Chazelle made cinema history in 2017 when he became the youngest winner of the Best Director Oscar at 32 for “La La Land”, an ode to Hollywood musicals. Previously, “Whiplash” (2014) was nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar.
For three hours, “Babylon” recounts the Los Angeles of the 1920s and 1930s, its sumptuous parties with elephants and topless dancers as well as its expensive filming in the Californian desert. The film also addresses racism or the devastating effect on silent stars of rapid technological change. Some have been expelled almost overnight.
Damien Chazelle explained that he was inspired by readings about a “strange phenomenon towards the end of the 1920s, with this epidemic of suicides, deaths which seem to have been overdoses of a suicidal drug”. This phenomenon coincided with the transition to talkies in Hollywood and it is what “gave him this brutal face”, according to the director, who created his characters based on several real stars and moguls of the time.
Brad Pitt explained that he discussed with Chazelle this period during which Hollywood was “the Wild West”. “I kind of brushed off that time, didn’t really pay attention to it – because it’s not a game genre that I refer to,” he continued. “That’s not what we’re gravitating towards today.”