Is there anything more glamorous and yet scandalous than Hollywood? For decades, we’ve been transfixed by the exploits of stars and behind-the-scenes drama. This year alone, there’s been streaming hits in the controversial Blonde and Pam and Tommy, both of which focus on mega-famous actresses and their public and private lives. And there’s another film release this year that looks to be as headline-grabbing as the others…

The star-packed Babylon, due to be released by Paramount Pictures on 23rd December, is already causing a stir online.

Next year’s Barbie might be the Margot Robbie film that everyone’s been talking about recently, but before that she’s one of the big players in Babylon. Set in the late 1920s as a decade of roaring extravagance draws to a close, the film focuses on Nellie LaRoy (Robbie) Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), Manny Torres (Diego Calva), Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo) and several other characters as Hollywood moves from silent films to ‘talkies’. Directed by Damien Chazelle, who directed the Oscar-nominated Whiplash (2014), La La Land (2016) and First Man (2018), the film promises to tell “an epic tale of debauchery and excess”, charting the rise and fall of these characters in a pivotal moment in film history. The ambitious movie is set to be 188 minutes long (or just over three hours), and also stars Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, Jean Smart, Ji Jun Li, Max Minghella, Eric Roberts, Jeff Garlin, Phoebe Tonkin and Samara Weaving.

While the huge cast of famous names is the main attraction, the story itself is told through the eyes of Manny, an assistant in the film world played by the relative newcomer Diego Calva. The character is “our eyes and ears through an outsider’s point of view” as Chazelle puts it – essentially guiding the viewer through the story and the characters. In the midst of the partying, craziness and debauchery are Pitt’s Jack, a movie star with ambitions to be one of the biggest names in Hollywood and the world, and Robbie’s Nellie, a young actress who also has big ambitions, described by Robbie as a “tornado.”

The film’s first full trailer was unveiled two months ago and begins perhaps fittingly with the sound of Nellie snorting cocaine, before showing quick cuts of cars, parties and more parties. A more in-depth featurette was released a couple of days ago, with interviews from Robbie, Pitt and Calva, as well as Chazelle himself, giving insight into their characters and what the film will be about – without giving too much away. The film will release in cinemas on 23rd December, before a streaming release on 6th January 2023.

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