The epic movie that surprised Jean Smart

In the highly anticipated new movie, there’s an unhappy elephant in the room la la land Director Damien Chazelle.

The elephant was sent to distract attention from the dead body of a young rising star who was being dragged out of a Dionysian party at the studio executive’s home. Drugs and alcohol are flowing and people are having fun on the dance floor. It’s crazy.

Eleanor St. John sat beside it all, watching keenly. Elinor, played by Jean Smart, is a reporter covering the Hollywood movie scene of the 1920s. She’s after information, not dishing out harsh truths to both entitled stars and insatiable up-and-comers.

Smart – she was recently in hacker, The Mare of Easttown with warder– Don’t worry about elephants like the young stars on the scene.

Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) at one of Babylon's many wild parties.

Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) at one of Babylon’s many wild parties.

“I was a little bit taken aback at first because we had really wild, likable extras,” Smart said with a laugh. “That’s what they do. I thought, ‘I have to hand it to you. I can’t.

“But it’s amazing how, amidst all the chaos, it’s really choreographed so perfectly that everyone knows where they’re supposed to be and when exactly.” Damien Chazelle even tried to I can’t give enough credit to making this happen.”

A “Slightly Surprised” Summary Babylon PERFECT – It’s three hours of sensory overload, big sets, stars Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and newcomer Diego Calva and an even bigger show with alligators (and elephants). It’s a major turnaround for Chazelle (who at 32 became the youngest Best Director Oscar winner) and leaves you dazed by the end, but can’t stop talking about it. okay? Is it not good? Who knows, but it’s sure to be something.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never, ever be in a scene with 700 extras again. That won’t happen. Only Damien Chazelle would do that.

Jean Smart

“I think that’s what you’d get if you took everyone’s wild fantasy about the ’20s and put it into a movie that contained a lot of dark facts about history that they didn’t know about,” Smart said.

Smart’s character is loosely based on the English writer Elinor Glyn, who popularized the “It Girl” phenomenon and played a role in Rudolph Valentino and Clara Bow ( Clara Bow) and other stars of the silent film era. Meanwhile, Pitt’s Jack Conrad is loosely based on 1920s heartthrob John Gilbert, while Robbie’s scrappy Nellie LaRoy is Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, A cross between Jenny Eagles and Alma Rubens. All thrived in the silent age, but struggled as Hollywood morphed into “talkies” and a new, more impermissible moral code.

Manny Torres (Diego Calva) and Elinor St. John (Jean Smart) are both outsiders in Babylon.

Manny Torres (Diego Calva) and Elinor St. John (Jean Smart) are both outsiders in Babylon.

“The kind of people who are attracted to filmmaking can be very interesting,” Smart said. “You know, like Jack’s character says, ‘In the hotel, they used to say no dogs, no actors allowed.’ That was really the attitude towards entertainers.

“So there are misfits and hooligans and whores, crazy people. But I mean, people who are excited about making movies — this new, incredible technology — I think a lot of them Must be an unruly person.”

In that sense, Chazelle hits the spot.You have to be a little crazy to make a movie like this Babylon. This is a story of immense ambitions, matched only by filming. In addition to an A-list cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Lucas Haas, Flea of ​​the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Samara Weaving and Olivia Wilde, there are a host of extras who usually To be undressed or sweaty and dusty.

“I’m sure I’ll never, ever be on a set with 700 extras,” Smart said. “That’s not going to happen. Only Damien Chazelle would do that. Because he wants it all to be real. I mean, they’re flying across the desert in that camera van.”

“And those crazy extras, they’re chasing Manny on horseback, and people are shooting each other. You’re like, ‘How many people got hurt in those scenes? [in the 1920s], especially when you find out they recruited all these extras off the street. They’ll just let junkies and people on the street go, ‘Well, here’s a sword. Just running in there and you’re like, oh my god, this is insanity. “


Now 71, riding a wave of career success, Smart seems to be a far cry from the misfits who were — and still are — attracted to Hollywood.She had her breakthrough in drama before appearing in a series of TV shows such as design women, Fraser with twenty four, And, she says, she has avoided any kind of brutal career evaluation, as her character does Babylon.

“I don’t know why I’ve been so lucky,” she said. “I know I’ve been lucky to have the opportunities that I’ve had and continue to have. At my age, as much as I would have liked to have had the opportunities 20 or 30 years ago, I’m glad it’s not the other way around and I’m a It’s kind of like going up and then just going down. That would be devastating.”

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