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LOS ANGELES: The Wild West days of 1920s Hollywood are on full display in the three-hour cinematic carnival “Babylon.” 

“La La Land” writer-director Damien Chazelle’s latest movie follows an ensemble of performers and filmmakers whose lives rise, collide and collapse as the Hollywood machine moves from silent film to sound. 

The all-star cast, which includes superstar Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Tobey Maguire and Olivia Wilde, brings to life characters inspired by real entertainment icons, adding a touch of reality to the story’s bombastic parties and problems.

In an interview with Arab News, Pitt, who plays the role of Jack Conrad in the movie, said: “This is when they were figuring out how to even make movies, you know. And it was wide open and there was a lot of experimentation, so. And it was a bit crazy.”

“By all reports, you know, our idea of that era is a bit sanitized. Apparently it was wide open and people were doing whatever came to mind,” he said. 

US actress Li Jun Li, who stars as Lady Fay Zhu, said that when she first read the script, she was concerned about how they “were going to pull it off.”

“How do we wrestle the snake? How do I suck the venom out of Margot’s neck?” she said. “Everything else, I did my homework, I did my research, and I was confident. And then when it came to that scene, I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to do. But we pulled it off. We pulled it off.”

Meanwhile, British American actor Jovan Adepo, who plays Sidney Palmer, said that he was excited to have the chance to work with Chazelle. 

“We were fans of his work,” he said. “And also getting a chance to work with these people that I’m a fan of. I’m a lover of movies. So getting a chance to work with Brad, Lily, Jean, Diego and Margot, I was like, this is, what’d you say, pleased as punch. Pleased as punch. Love it.”

As award season begins, the film has already received five Golden Globe nominations. While some critics have said that the epic-length runtime leaves “Babylon” feeling unfocused, praise for the performances, soundtrack and style have been consistent.

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