Emma Stone and Brad Pitt might just be starring in a film together, Damien Chazelle’s long-gestating project Babylon. The movie focuses on Hollywood in the late 1920s, as the film industry transitioned from silent movies to talkies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount has picked up the film, and it’s slated to be released in time for the 2021 awards season.
If all goes according to plan, Stone will play the legendary actress Clara Bow, widely known as Hollywood’s first “It girl” (the term comes from Bow’s row in the film It. The more you know!). Bow was a massive star, famous for her cupid’s bow lips, and she was the rare actress who was able to successfully transition from silent films to talkies. She is one of the ultimate icons of the flapper era.
Bow’s career eventually floundered due to her struggles with schizophrenia. But while rumors swirled for years that she couldn’t hack talkies due to her thick Brooklyn accent, she was able to make a few hits with sound, like The Wild Party.
“In my era,” she said in 1951, “we had individuality. We did as we pleased. We stayed up late. We dressed the way we wanted. I’d whiz down Sunset Boulevard in my open Kissel . . . with seven red chow dogs to match my hair.”
Pitt’s character, said to be based on actor John Gilbert, embodies the other side of things: the silent star who just couldn’t hack it in talkies. From the sound of it, Babylon will echo some themes of Chazelle’s La La Land, focusing on the ups and downs of show biz. The studio seems to be setting it up as an epic project; the script clocks in at 180 pages, and the budget is set between $80 and $100 million. See you at the Oscars.