Babylon is one of several “love-letters to the movies” that have popped up in the last few months – along with The Fabelmans, Empire of Light, and Bardo – which all approach it in very different ways. But Babylon depicts Hollywood as more of a dystopian dream-killer than a magical wonderland. As with Damien Chazelle‘s La La Land, there are many scenes in Babylon that take place on or near studio lots.
One eagle-eyed viewer has spotted an anachronism that pops up in a street scene in Babylon, that looks like it takes place either in – or on the street next to – the Paramount Studios lot. In the background, you can see a glimpse of a billboard, but it’s not advertising a 1950s movie (which is when the scene takes place). It’s advertising the 2022 film that is already an iconic classic, we think you’ll agree, Jackass Forever.
Jackass Forever of course reunited Johnny Knoxville with Steve-O, Wee Man, and the rest of the crew on the big screen for the first time in almost a decade. Filming began on March 3, 2020 and was almost immediately shut down due to the pandemic. It had its release delayed several times – from an initial release date of March 2021, to its eventual release in February 2022. It would go onto make $80 million at the box office.
Damien Chazelle’s Babylon did not fare too well at the box office – making $15 million in the US, and just over $40 million worldwide. It’s now available on VOD in the US, but has only just opened in cinemas in the UK. It stars Diego Calva as a starry-eyed young man who tries to make it in the early movie business of the 1920s, but gradually becomes disillusioned. It co-stars Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Jean Smart, Flea, Olivia Wilde, Lukas Haas, Eric Roberts, Max Minghella, Samara Weaving and more.
In our interview with Damien Chazelle, he told us; “while shooting [Babylon], some part of me wanted to shake things up a little bit. To sort of re-approach this idea of the dreamer in Hollywood, that basic, archetypal idea. It’s very kind of mythic, you know, there’s the American Dream aspect to it. But I wanted to try to approach it now in a totally different way, to try to 180 the perspective and switch it up.”
For more of classic Hollywood – check out our guide to the best musicals.