Three years after the debut of the romantic dramedy musical La La Land, Emma Stone has signed on to star in yet another Damien Chazelle production. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Stone is slated to play real-life film star Clara Bow, and Brad Pitt will be her fictionalised love interest, inspired by old Hollywood’s “Great Lover” John Gilbert.
Set in the 1920s, Babylon will reportedly explore the impact of the invention of sound films on the film industry. Movies with sound, often called "talkies," were first introduced to Hollywood in 1927 with The Jazz Singer. After the box-office success of the movie, talkies began to take over, ushering out silent films as well the genre's staple stars.
Among those silent film household names were people like Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, and, most famously, Charlie Chaplin. Many of the stars couldn't assimilate into the new world of talkies — Gilbert eventually fizzled into anonymity — but Bow and her fetching New York accent were able to flourish in the new era. Babylon aims to capture this transitory time, likely utilising music, which is Chazelle's M.O., to tell the story.
Babylon will be Stone and Chazelle’s second major project together. The collaborators, along with The Notebook actor Ryan Gosling, joined forces in 2016 to bring about the critically-acclaimed La La Land. The musical, which told the love story between an aspiring actress and a down-on-his-luck jazz musician, set the record in 2017 for the most Golden Globes to be won by a single film (seven) and took home five different Oscars at the 89th Academy Awards.
Pitt is coming off of his own success with the A-list ensemble movie Once Upon in Time in Hollywood. In the Quentin Tarantino film, an ageing actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) attempts to adjust to the rapid changes of Hollywood with the help of his confidante and stunt double (Pitt). The movie, which somehow ties in the famed Manson family murders, boasts an impressive cast including Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Burt Reynolds, Kurt Russell, just to name a few.
Having both starred in different period pieces in their respective careers, channeling the glitz and glam of the 1920s in Babylon should be no problem for Stone and Pitt. The Paramount Pictures production is tentatively scheduled for limited release in December 2021 and should hit cinemas worldwide in January 2022.