Friday, December 2, 2022

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ALISON BOSHOFF: Margot Robbie plays a cocaine-dozing, orgy-loving actress in the wild new movie Babylon

Prepare for bad behavior on screen in Babylon, a 188-minute epic from La La Land director Damien Chazelle.

Some friends who saw it aren’t fans of the historical comedy that tells the story of Hollywood as movies transition from silent to talkie.

Margot Robbie plays actress Nellie La Roy – loosely based on the wild child Clara Bow (aka “The It Girl”) – and Brad Pitt is actor-director Jack Conrad.

It’s totally over the top when Robbie fights a rattlesnake and throws up projectiles (fortunately not at the same time).

The film begins with an elephant being persuaded to chase up a hill… he’s wanted at a house party.

Nellie takes so much cocaine that she collapses in the midst of an orgy scene in which a drug-intoxicated chicken is being chased around the house.

Actress Jean Smart (of Hacks) plays a gossip columnist who is also present at the party.

She said: “That first tracking shot … with the chicken high on cocaine … lasted forever, with about 37 crazy things happening, like people snorting coke off naked bodies. I remember thinking, ‘Thank God we have some really uninhibited extras in Los Angeles.’

She joked that she told herself, “Just don’t look down and don’t go back.”

Robbie, who was in London this week to promote the film, said she doesn’t think she’s anything like Nellie – who’s rising to fame but is overwhelmed by gambling debts and drugs – “but then I have friends who seen the movie and they go, ‘That’s totally you!’

When asked if the film made her nostalgic for old Hollywood, she said, “I think there’s a lot less drugs around now.” Co-star Pitt chimed in: “Unfortunately true.”

Director Chazelle said: “Towards the end of the 1920s there were these kinds of suicides, deaths and drug overdoses, and I found that coincided with the transition from silent to audio. I started looking at the kind of extreme living—the passion, the ambition, and the ruthlessness of all stripes—that characterized Hollywood at the time, and it got my brain spinning.

The film will be released in America on December 23 and in the UK in January.

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