The American director directed Babylon, an unsettling vulgar and touching fresco that pays homage to cinema. He told with sweet and very precise words the great qualities of his protagonist, a Margot Robbie ready to return to the Oscars.
The tone of voice does not change too much, which remains calm, and the shyness that leads him to look lower than towards the interlocutor. But his eyes light up, a Damien Chazellewhen he talks about his leading lady, muse and executive producer in Babylon: Margot Robbie. One of the hottest personalities in and around Hollywood in recent times, Australian like Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman o Naomi Wattsis capable of acting with great skill – see among the many demonstrations one of the three Oscar nominations, the one for Tonya – as well as producing films with great care and taste.
A free woman and beyond clichés, a bit like la Nellie LaRoy by Babylon, in theaters since January 19, which has already brought her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy film. Looking forward to the Oscars, of course. What’s more, the film is comedy only at times, especially in a frenetic first part in which she steals the show.
“Margot is a unique actress“, Chazelle said, “it is a force of naturewith a hunger and courage that lead her to do everything without compromise, she comes to compare acting with the world of animals. For each role she plays she thinks of a different animal it is as if she were possessed by a wild creature, as can be seen in this film. At the same time she is incredibly disciplined, she has great skill in the more technical aspects of the performance. She’s one of those actresses who can shoot twelve takes crying out of one eye each time, technically she is a virtuoso. This combination makes it miraculous, it’s a very rare gift. Usually an actress either has more instinct or technique. She is miraculous.”
Damien Chazelle is well aware – he defines himself as a “realist” – that he could never have made such an extreme, “incorrect” and polarizing film as Babylonmoreover costing almost 80 million dollars, if he hadn’t already had the laurels to his credit Whiplash e La La Land. Part homage, part Hollywood funeral, the film starts from one character – Nellie played by Margot Robbie – so free as to be, with today’s eyes, almost unbelievable.
“I imagined this ‘wild girl’ looking at photos of the time. To my surprise I noticed that they didn’t all wear short hair neatly coiffed in the 1920s. In her demeanor, Nellie La Roy is a bit Mae West, Jean Harlow or Joan Crawford. Just the latter, who arrived in Hollywood very young, she went to clubs to dance hoping to be noticed. Then, as a director I didn’t have to do much more than create an environment where Margot felt safe and supported to create crazy things. We shot many takes, improvising a lot, starting from the script, then looking for other ways, and then returning to the script. It takes an actress who has the will, to try new things, knowing that some of them may not work, but you have to experiment on set to get what works. It was just wonderful to work with her“.