Jean Smart is set to join the ever-expanding cast of Damien Chazelle’s next feature, Babylon. The cast already includes an unbelievable amount of talent including Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood), Olivia Wilde (director of Booksmart), Toby Maguire (Spider-Man), Spike Jonze (director of Being John Malkovich), Diego Calva (Te prometo anarquía), Jovan Adepo (Overlord), Li Jun Li (Sex/Life), Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale), Flea (Baby Driver), Samara Weaving (Ready or Not), Rory Scovel (I Feel Pretty), Lukas Haas (Inception), Eric Roberts (The Expendables), P.J. Byrne (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Damon Gupton (Whiplash). Whew!
Jean Smart has been in our hearts since Designing Women,and for the first part of her career she has played a softer, bubbly character. In her last few projects she has surprised audiences of late with her choices for edgier roles. If you haven’t seen her in season 2 of the FX series Fargo as Floyd Gerhardt, matriarch of the Gerhardt Minnesota crime family, you are missing out.
All parts and storylines for the next movie from the Oscar-winning La La Land director are under wraps. The only hints Paramount are giving out is the movie is R-rated and is set in the shifting moment in Hollywood when the motion picture industry turned from silent film to talkies. The drama will mark the fifth feature for director Damien Chazelle, who previously won Academy Awards for Whiplash, La La Land, and First Man.
Damien Chazelle is the youngest person to ever win the Academy Award for Best Director, at the age of thirty-two, the previous record holder being Norman Taurog, who had held the title for eighty-six years. His films tend to have a perennial character which is the unforgettable music. It comes from his passion for music and music making, playing as a jazz drummer in his younger years. His early drumming prospects would give him all the material he needed to make Whiplash. The story focuses on a promising young drummer who enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.
He says, “By the end of high school, I had this fork-in-the-road moment where part of me considered going to vocational music school to really pursue it. There are a lot of musicians in my life. But movies came first for me. That was my original passion.”
His passion also appears to be Hollywood. “I find L.A. kind of romantic, actually. As a movie junkie, it’s a city that was built by the movies. There’s something really weird and surreal about it that I find energizing.” He has found the perfect recipe to express it. “What’s great about musicals is their energy and go-for-brokeness – stopping the story to sing and dance. How can you not love that?” Babylon is shooting for a release on Christmas Day 2022. This was first reported at The Hollywood Reporter.