Epic period drama Babylon has audiences questioning whether or not the film is based on fact. It follows the fortunes of a few individuals through the Roaring Twenties when Hollywood was making the transition from silent to sound pictures. Many well-known actors and actresses, including Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, appear in Babylon as part of the show’s ensemble cast.
The film is directed by Damien Chazelle, who has previously helmed the Oscar-winning films Whiplash (2014) and La La Land (2016). Early comments for Babylon regarded the movie as over-the-top and evocative of 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Like many epics, the movie also has a significant runtime, clocking in at slightly over three hours long.
Is Babylon Based On True Story Or Not?
The historical transition from silent to sound cinema in the 1920s provides the setting for Babylon, although the plot itself is fictional. While the movie itself isn’t based on any actual events or people, several of the characters are composites of real people. As an illustration, Douglas Fairbanks and John Gilbert are among the silent film actors who inspired Brad Pitt’s Jack Conrad role. Let’s know about Margot Robbie in the next paragraph.
The Character Played By Margot Robbie Is A Loose Homage To Actress Clara Bow
In contrast, Robbie’s Nellie LaRoy is more of a hybrid than a straight portrayal of any one person or thing. Emma Stone was originally cast as her, but by the time filming on Babylon had begun, the character had been altered to be more fictional and less obviously based on Clara Bow. With that being said, it’s not hard to see Bow’s presence hanging around LaRoy.
Bow, who was raised by a sexually abusive father and a mentally unstable mother, was a child prodigy who won a modeling contest at age 16 for the magazine Brewster and quickly rose to the forefront of some of the most groundbreaking films of her day (most notably Wings, the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Picture).
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She was a fan favorite thanks to her working-class roots and carefree on-screen demeanor, and her unique blend of seductive sex appeal and girl-next-door authenticity paved the way for a century’s worth of leading women (and the enviable moniker “The It Girl”) (named after her 1927 film of the same name).
Also, unlike some of her co-stars, she was able to ride the wave of success brought on by her opulent lifestyle, which embodied all that was great about the Roaring Twenties.
This, alas, turned out to have negative consequences on both sides. When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, her elite image became an easy target for the press because of the contrast with the more accessible culture of the 1920s.
BABYLON is a euphoric experience unlike anything I've ever seen before. Chazelle's unhinged direction fires on all cylinders and creates a bombastic 3hr movie while Hurwitz's score is the best I've heard in years. It's a rare movie that demands to be seen on the big screen. 10/10 pic.twitter.com/BHpMdzHg4D
— Charlie McGivern (@McGivernC_) January 20, 2023
There was little doubt that she had been a stronger performer before the advent of talkies, despite the fact that she had made the transition from silent to sound easier than most. After failing at reinventing herself as a professional actor, she resigned in 1933 to spend more time with her husband, fellow actor Rex Bell, and their children.
She suffered from physical and mental sickness in her latter years that sadly paralleled that of her mother, and by the time she passed away in 1965 at the age of 60, her legacy as the quintessential “It Girl” had been entrenched, which is a shame because she grew to despise the phrase. To know is there any real character in Babylon, keep reading.
Is There Any Authenticity To The Babylonian Cast?
It may have seemed that all the characters in Babylon were fictional, but it turns out there is one who meets these requirements. Irving Thalberg, played by The Social Network’s Max Minghella, was a real person. For his time, Thalberg was dubbed “The Boy Wonder” because of his ability to create hit movies.
At the age of 26, he was named president of MGM and was instrumental in the company’s rise to prominence as a major Hollywood studio. Sadly, he would not get to see old age, passing dead from pneumonia at the young age of 37.
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