Babylon Star Details Which Famous Movies Inspired His Performance – Trending News

Babylon Star Details Which Famous Movies Inspired His Performance


Babylon star Diego Calva reveals the films that director Damien Chazelle told him to watch while prepping for the buzzy film about early Hollywood.

Babylon star Diego Calva revealed the films that director Damien Chazelle told him to watch in order to prep for his performance. The film, which is set in the debaucherous party scene of early Hollywood in the late 1920s when the industry was shifting from silent films to talkies, follows the trajectories of multiple characters including Calva’s aspiring actor character Manny. The film also stars Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, and Tobey Maguire as various characters inspired by real-life Hollywood figures of the era.


This week, the movie-sharing social media platform Letterboxd shared an interview with Babylon‘s Margot Robbie and Diego Calva. During their conversation, Calva shared the titles that Chazelle asked him to screen in order to prep to play Manny. This includes 1974’s The Godfather to capture “the arc” of the character, but largely centered on Charlie Chaplin works including his 1936 film Modern Times. Read Calva’s full quote below:

[Damien Chazelle told me to watch] The Godfather, because of the arc. Also like a couple of Chaplin movies like Modern Times, Damien told me… the eyes. Let’s work with the eyes and face with no words.

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How Charlie Chaplin Influences the Aesthetic of Babylon

Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp

The films that Calva shares in this interview reveal a great deal about what influences Chazelle used to craft the Hollywood era depicted in Babylon. His focus on the works of Chaplin especially reveals how he intends to link the film’s gaudy, loud, colorful spectacle, with the black-and-white cinema of the time, which tends to be viewed as tamer than modern pop culture. While that may be true for many of the movies themselves, it is certainly not the case for the people who were involved in making them. Having Calva harness Chaplin’s expressive facial qualities in this new aesthetic will be one of many ways that Chazelle draws connections between the classic and modern eras of cinema.

Modern Times is an especially pointed choice of Chaplin film. The project was the iconic actor’s first work of sound cinema, highlighting the ways that the changing industry would have affected the people at the center of it. This particular period (which was also dramatized in the 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain) was a tumultuous one as stars found their bankability rising or falling due to the rapidly changing standards of what was required from them.

What The Godfather Reveals About Manny’s Babylon Character Arc

Margot Robbie and Diego Calve walking in Babylon

While making Calva watch The Godfather might seem like a strange choice considering the fact that the film isn’t part of the classic era of cinema that Babylon is depicting, it reveals a great deal about what viewers can expect from the character. In the trailers, Manny has so far been depicted as an innocent who is drawn into the world of Hollywood by the larger-than-life figures around him. However, it seems that his arc will mirror that of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who begins the film pure of heart and is eventually seduced so far into a life of crime that he sinks even lower than anyone who came before him.

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Source: Letterboxd/Twitter

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  • Babylon New Movie Poster


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