Margot Robbie Calls Filming 'Babylon’ „The Best Experience of My Life”, First Reactions Are Out
Perhaps one of the quietest Oscar contenders so far, Babylon has been surrounded by a lot of secrecy for a long time, which might seem ironic given the fact that the script leaked very early on. But now, as we enter the final month ahead of the movie’s release, the marketing campaign is in full swing, and some critics have already seen the final product.
As part of the movie’s promotion, Margot Robbie, who leads the ensemble as Nellie LaRoy, a late 1920s Hollywood superstar who was heavily inspired by Clara Bow, gave an insightful interview with Vanity Fair where she opened up about filming the movie and her career as a whole. Babylon will be a cocaine-filled journey through the transition between silent films and talkies towards the tail-end of the 1920s, and will follow the depravation of the industry when they were starting to realize what they could become without being tied by any rules.
Robbie might have been born to play the part, as she reminds many of the people that have worked with her of a classic movie star from the first few decades of Hollywood, including Allison Janney, who compared her to Katharine Hepburn, or Martin Scorsese himself, who compared her to Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford:
“Like Lombard, she’s vivacious, strikingly beautiful, and she has a great sense of humor, about herself most of all. Like Crawford, she’s completely grounded and instantly commanding—she enters the frame and you pay attention to her.”
Babylon‘s writer/director Damien Chazelle also had nothing but nice things to say about his lead actress:
“Margot’s able to tap into this wildness and this bravado where you don’t know what’s going to come, and it keeps surprising you. Usually when you think of actors with that kind of raw energy, it’s an unschooled energy. With Margot, that’s not the case at all.”
Robbie, who came across as quite humble and reserved to Vanity Fair‘s Rebecca Ford, described Babylon as the best experience of her life:
“What you see onscreen is the chaos of making a movie and how fucked it is, but also how it’s just the greatest thing ever. And, literally, filming it was the exact same thing. Shit was so unhinged and so fun and amazing and just absurd. It was definitely the best experience of my life.”
The actress revealed that her primary source of information when trying to prepare for a role is to go back to the character’s childhood and build it from there. She said the following about prepping for Nellie LaRoy:
“Whenever I’m trying to make a character, I have to figure out their childhood. I can justify anything they do later in life if I just figure that out. [Clara Bow] had probably the most horrific childhood I can imagine for anyone. You can justify anything Nellie does and says in this movie if you imagine that she experienced something like that as a kid.”
And she really got into character. According to her co-star Diego Calva, the dance sequence that is featured in the trailers and seen in the image above, required Robbie to dance for eight hours straight in two consecutive days. By the end, the entire crew applauded her. Said Calva:
“She just gave everything she had. Everything’s raw. She’s a fearless actress.”
In Babylon, Robbie appears in a couple of scenes with fewer clothes than normal. That’s not something that concerns her, though, as she told Vanity Fair:
“I don’t really have a whole lot of modesty left. I don’t feel embarrassed when it’s Nellie doing something. I’d feel embarrassed if it was me, but it’s all her.”
The first reactions to the movie came out after a screening earlier this week, and it seems like it is a lot. They are quite polarized for now, as one could have expected just by seeing the trailer, and here are some of them, both good and bad:
Extravagant, decadent and all together delightfully delicious. @babylonmovie is phenomenal filmmaking . This is Damien Chazelle’s love letter to movie making, and Margot Robbie’s best performance to date. The score is outstanding. pic.twitter.com/86zpBANE8D
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) November 15, 2022
BABYLON what a movie! A love letter to cinema. Damien Chazelle’s best film! I loved it! What a wild fun time at the movies! Margot Robbie gives a high octane performance that took my breath away! Bravo! #BabylonMovie #babylon #MargotRobbie
— Josh Blumenkranz (@JoshBlumenkranz) November 15, 2022
#Babylon/#BabylonMovie is a daring Hollywood epic that utterly shocks the senses. Margot Robbie and Diego Calva give huge performances. Damien Chazelle incorporates his signature musicality and movement throughout. Justin Hurwitz’s score is one hell of a wall of sound. pic.twitter.com/RTlL9WhaKa
— Jeff Nelson (@SirJeffNelson) November 15, 2022
BABYLON: Truly monstrous in its thudding insistence on shoving the viewer’s face in the muck and claiming it’s something novel or moving; Chazelle might be the most confident director in Hollywood today, of course he’s also got some of the worst instincts out there.
— Ryan Swen/孫天行/Sun Tianxing (@swen_ryan) November 15, 2022
Babylon is a fever dream of a movie that’s best when it’s being a straight out comedy. The drama barely plays. Pitt and Jovan Adepo give the best performances in the movie. Robbie gives it her all but the character is so one note. Didn’t love it.
— Gregory Ellwood -The Playlist 🎬 (@TheGregoryE) November 15, 2022
Also, Babylon isn’t a love letter to Hollywood. It’s a drunken, late-night, dirty sext to Hollywood that’d be better off canceled.
— Joe Utichi (@joeutichi) November 15, 2022
Babylon will open in North American theaters on December 25. You can check out the trailer here:
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as authors like Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.