‘Babylon’ First Footage: Brad Pitt Is Unrecognizable in 1920s Epic

Damien Chazelle’s “bold and brilliant” Hollywood epic also stars Margot Robbie, Samara Weaving, Tobey Maguire, Spike Jonze, and Olivia Wilde.

Finally, finally, finally we are one step closer to the epic Hollywood empire that is “Babylon.”

The upcoming feature from Oscar-winning writer-director Damien Chazelle stars “Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood” co-stars Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie for “Babylon” in a period piece about the transitional period in the film industry when silent movies gave way to talkies. The film is set to premiere wide January 6, 2023, and already is a buzzed-about Oscars contender.

While Chazelle has stayed mum about plot specifics, the drama “Babylon” reportedly focuses on real-life industry titans Clara Bow (Robbie), Elinor Glyn, and studio exec Irving Thalberg, played by Max Minghella. The ensemble cast also includes Samara Weaving, Li Jun Li, Katherine Waterston, Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, Jean Smart, Lukas Haas, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. Tobey Maguire, who also serves as an executive producer, is portraying Charlie Chaplin.

During Paramount’s showcase at 2022 CinemaCon, audiences witness a first look at the highly-anticipated film, with a sequence involving Oscar winner Pitt donning a large fake nose to play John Gilbert. The first footage shows Pitt in character dodging possible impalement from a spear as an actor on set. Pitt’s character was “in the line of fire,” as a prop department representative yells back to him.

Robbie as Bow glistens in the spotlight, with stunning set design and hair and makeup choices for the sweeping period piece. “You don’t become a star,” Robbie coos before winking. “You are either one… or you ain’t.”

Robbie replaced “La La Land” Oscar winner Emma Stone, who was originally set to lead the sprawling epic but dropped out due to scheduling issues. Paramount has set “Babylon” for a December 25 limited release and a wide release January 6, 2023.

Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins called the film “really spectacular” and a “bold and brilliant” masterpiece by Chazelle, who previously made history as the youngest person to win Best Director with “La La Land.”

While much of the plot has been kept under wraps, “Babylon” reportedly has already wowed test audiences who have cited the big swings taken by Chazelle in capturing the silent film era.

Paramount has kicked off 2022 with four consecutive number one domestic box office openings, as Chris Aronson, President of Domestic Distribution, cited during the CinemaCon showcase.

Additional reporting by Tony Maglio and Chris Lindahl.

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