Director Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, starring Margot Robbie, has already had its glitzy premiere in Los Angeles, and reviews of this tale of the end of Hollywood’s silent era have ranged from overwhelmingly positive to accusations of sloppiness.
At the center of the plot is the young and aspiring actress Nellie LaRoy, who is struggling to make it big in Hollywood since the 1920s. And although her career is on the rise, she has to guard against the dark side of fame – too much partying, alcohol, drugs and last but not least – sex.
Margot Robbie herself said in an interview with Variety that when she read the script for the film, she herself could not believe that such a thing could be shown on screen.
“The movie is crazy! I mean – when I read the script, I was like, ‘La Dolce Vita’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ had a baby – and I love it,” says the actress, speaking to her co-star – Carey Mulligan (“Girl With Potential,” “The Great Gatsby”).
However, some of the scenes, especially the ones with a sexual moment in them, make her feel confused as to how much today’s cinema allows this to be exposed to viewers.
“I thought – can we show this? Really, are we allowed to show this?! There were so many scenes where A) I had no idea how I was going to do this; or B) I had no idea if we could get away with showing this something,” shares Robbie.
Of particular note is a particularly large-scale scene at a party with the participation of an elephant, dancers and many actors, which the actress defines as a “party-orgy”.
However, the Australian has previously explained that although she describes herself as shy, she does not feel ashamed of such scenes, even when there is nudity in them. The reason for this is simple – she categorically separates herself from the characters she plays.
In a previous interview with Vanity Fair, where she talked about Babylon, Robbie explained that for such naked and wilder scenes she adjusts, that her character Nelly is a completely different person, and all this embarrassment and shame falls on the character , and not on herself.
“Actually, I don’t have much shame left. I don’t feel embarrassed when Nelly does something. I would feel embarrassed if it were me, but it’s all just her,” explains the actress.
She has been using this technique since her first major role in The Wolf of Wall Street, where her character Naomi Lapalia had sex with Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort. For her, Naomi is the one who shows up in erotic lingerie and bares herself for the camera, not her.
Another curious moment from “Babylon” that Robbie recently talked about was a kiss between her character and Brad Pitt’s character, which the actress initiated herself.
In the film, Babylon Pitt played established star Jack Conrad, one of the biggest celebrities in the world at the time, while Nellie LaRoy, still seeking her fame.
She told E!News that she spoke with director Damien Chazelle about the need for such a moment, and in her words, the shot will most likely become “the most memorable kiss.”
“It wasn’t in the script, but I thought, when is the next time I’m going to get a chance to kiss Brad Pitt? And I just did,” Robbie said.
The big challenge was convincing Chazelle that the scene was necessary for the film.
“I went to him and told him that Nellie should kiss Jack. He initially agreed, but then he told me that I was just trying to kiss Brad Pitt. I told him that I might never get that chance again, so I’m going to take advantage. And he replied that it really suits our characters,” explains the Australian.
Even after the first take, the director was already convinced that the scene would fit well in the film as a character development piece, but he still had his lead actors re-shoot the kiss, which Robbie says was welcome for her.
“I also kissed Katherine Waterson, but I don’t know if that scene made it into the movie,” adds the actress.
Meanwhile, to ET, Brad Pitt also commented on the case and told his colleague about the “stolen” kiss with him.
According to him, the kiss between the two is far from the wildest thing Robbie does in the film. He described his co-star’s role as “fiery” and “the best thing I’ve ever seen her in.”
To maintain her image, Robbie said in her interview with Variety that she invited some of her friends to the set.
“I asked some friends because it was important to have a party atmosphere throughout the film. I had friends in the caravan the whole time. Base camp was a bit of an ongoing party. I told myself I need it for Nelly. I need her at no time that there should be no silence around him, that he should not calm down at any moment,” explains the actress.
However, this process drained Robbie of her strength, as she told the Wall Street Journal that she had never worked so hard for a role, and by the end of filming she was totally exhausted.
Despite the many hours in front of the camera, however, she enjoyed every one of them because she loves challenges and the pleasure of conquering them.
Whether Babylon will be a worthy victory remains to be seen. In the US, the big premiere of the film was on December 16, and it opens in theaters on December 23. In our country, it will enter the cinemas on January 20, 2023.