How many stars can Damien Chazelle fit in one movie? Well, the First Man director is putting that question to the test with his upcoming film Babylon, a drama set during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Babylon has added even more stars to its already-stacked cast led by Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, with Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, and Tobey Maguire among the latest to join the sprawling ensemble.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, Phoebe Tonkin, and Tobey Maguire have joined the Babylon cast, joining the likes of Pitt, Robbie, Katerine Waterston, Samara Weaving, Li Jun Li, and more.
The 1920s-set drama, which is set to be Chazelle’s follow-up to 2018’s underrated space age drama First Man, is an “ode to the golden age of Hollywood” which will feature both real and fictional characters navigating the transition from silent films to “talkies.”
Right now, there aren’t any character details on who Wilde, Jonze, Tonkin, and Maguire will be playing, or even whether they’ll be playing fictional or historic characters. But Chazelle’s recruiting skills (or at least, those of his casting director) are impressive — Wilde and Jonze are are both busy filmmakers; Wilde having made the transition from acting to acclaimed director with Booksmart, while Jonze is more known for helming arthouse films like Her than the occasional acting cameo he makes. Tobey Maguire, meanwhile, has been out of the public eye for years and hadn’t even taken an onscreen role since a 2014 movie called Pawn Sacrifice. But Maguire is also an executive producer on the project, which may have made it easier to persuade him to make his big-screen comeback. The lesser known name here is Tonkin, who is best known for starring in teen dramas like The CW’s The Vampire Diaries.
Journey to Babylon
Babylon has been in the works since at least 2019, with Pitt and Emma Stone originally attached to Chazelle’s 1920s Hollywood drama. Chazelle shopped the project around to studios for a little bit before Paramount Pictures ultimately picked it up, though the film would remain in stasis as Stone stepped down from the lead role and Robbie took her place.
But things have been picking up since Paramount set a December 2022 release date for Babylon, with the project steadily accumulating cast members for its ensemble, which now includes Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, Katherine Waterston, Max Minghella, Lukas Haas, Flea, Rory Scovel, Samara Weaving, Eric Roberts, P.J. Byrne, and Damon Gupton. Per THR, production is slated to start next week.
Chazelle writes and directs the drama, which is set during the late 1920s “during the movie industry’s transition from silent films to talkies.” The film is described as “The Great Gatsby on steroids,” which makes Maguire’s casting apt — he starred in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 Great Gatsby, which already felt like the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic on steroids.
Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe and Marc Platt are producing Babylon while Maguire, Helen Estabrook and Adam Siegel will executive produce. Paramount plans a limited release on December 25, 2022, before going wide January 6, 2023.
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