Hollywood, land of dreams — and lots of drama. Babylon, a film directed by Damien Chazelle, premiering on December 23, follows the rise and fall of actors in the 1920s. It’s a complicated story, a bit raw at times, but of course, glamorous too. We got a window into the months of planning and unexpected inspiration behind these 188 minutes of brilliant, beautiful chaos.
From the Costume Designer
“You get to see the beginning of Hollywood. It was very sexy, very risqué. Damien didn’t want it to look like another 1920s movie, so it’s a combination of references like Studio 54 (that kind of debauchery). For [actor] Li Jun Li, I found a beautiful ’20s men’s top hat. Then I cobbled looks together from flea markets, Etsy, vendors all over. With Nellie [Margot Robbie], her opening [red] outfit is a scarf. Maybe a half-yard of fabric I loved, made into a top and tap pants. [Robbie’s] mood board was provocative and daring. You wanted to be surprised by every change she had.” —Mary Zophres
From the Hairstylist
“When you think of the ’20s, it’s the bob and finger waves, [but Chazelle] wanted to stay away from the clichés. If a character had a bob, it would be a little worn — there was frizz and fluff. [Robbie] was our wild child and I had Robert Plant in mind with her. The texture and the bigness and the rock and roll of it. When you see her dancing, her hair is flying around and whipping. I worked closely with wigmaker Robert Pickens to create the fluff, the lightness. Finally seeing her from head to toe and in action with the choreography and the scenes that she was doing, I was just like, “Wow! This is perfect.” — Jamie Leigh McIntosh