The real-life actors who inspired the main characters of ‘Babylon’

Babylon It is about to be released in Mexican movie theaters. It is one of the films with the greatest expectations as it is directed by Damien Chazelle, who was behind tapes as acclaimed as whiplash, La La Land Y First Man. And it is not only the name of the director, but also the cast, which is led by the Mexican Diego Calva with Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt.

This tape is Set in 1920s Hollywood, it follows the rise and fall of two movie stars.who are accompanied by a subject who dreams of making movies only to face a cruel industry that discards and exploits anyone.

Is about a huge epic that shows the contradictions of an industry that was built based on dreams, but at the same time destroyed them (along with people).. In the words of Damien Chazelle himself, Babylon is a “hate letter to cinema” full of excesses, tragedies, failed aspirations and uncertain futures. But here we tell you what it’s about and the real characters in which Chazelle is inspired him to create his characters.

Margt Robbie as Nellie in ‘Babylon’ / Photo: Paramount Pictures.


Babylon is starring Manuel Torres, a Mexican who works as an assistant to Don Wallach, one of the most important producers of the time. during a party, Manny “discovers” Nellie LaRoya completely unpredictable young woman who considers herself a starand who will not rest until they appear on a screen.

we also know Jack Conrad, one of the most popular leading men in silent cinema. The lives of these three characters change radically when the first change arrives in Hollywood: the arrival of sound And what seems to benefit everyone becomes an obstacle.

Who is Diego Calva, the Mexican who stars in Damien Chazelle's 'Babylon'?
Diego Calva and Brad Pitt in ‘Babylon’/Photo: Paramount Pictures

First, for the directors who they must assimilate the new circumstances to capture the sound. In one of the most intense and fun scenes of the film, we see the adaptation process of all the parties in order not to be left behind in an industry that was already perceived as changing.

But above all, Babylon focuses on the process that actresses and actors went through, and how some of them failed to adapt for various reasons ranging from rejection of voices, accents and even the change in the way they act.

Nellie LaRoy – Clara Bow

margot robbie

Nellie LaRoy’s character first It was meant for Emma Stonewho had previously collaborated with Damien Chazelle on La La Land. But due to scheduling problems, he was unable to join the production, and that was how Margot Robbie arrived in one of her most prominent roles so far.

Nellie LaRoy, as we said, is an unpredictable and intense woman who takes the industry by surprise. thanks to his acting ability, but above all for having a strong personality that monopolizes all the spaces inside and outside the filming set. What seemed to be in his favor in his personality and energy becomes an obstacle when sound arrives at the cinema.

Margot Robbie as Nellie in 'Babylon'
Margot Robbie as Nellie in ‘Babylon’ / Photo: Paramount Pictures

But who did they rely on to create it? The most direct inspiration comes from Clara Bow, who is considered the first “it girl” of the industry, who despite his stormy past, managed to win over several producers and directors, becoming part of the infamous star system.

Clara Bow was born in New York into a low-income family. His mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and it is believed that his father sexually abused her. As soon as she could, Clara launched into Hollywood, and got a contract with the producer BP Schulberg, to later go on to form part of the ranks of Paramount.

It was here that Clara Bow’s career reached its high point. For example, in 1927 he starred wingsthe first film in history to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Despite all the glamor and fame, Bow was always an outsider in the industry. And according to various reports, he preferred to go betting in casinos than to attend parties (Actually, I wasn’t always invited).

Clara Bow in 'Wings', 1927
Clara Bow in ‘Wings’ from 1927 / Photo: MUBI

Clara Bow was always rejected, and at some point, various aspects of his intimate life were made publicincluding a long list of lovers who contemplated directors, producers and actors of the stature of John Gilbert and Gary Cooper.

After several difficult episodes, the industry officially turned its back on him. He terminated his contract with Paramount before he turned 30., and somehow, withdrew from the public eye. Bow married and had two children, but the specter of schizophrenia haunted her until she took her to being locked up in a psychiatric hospital. The actress died at the age of 60.

Clara Bow in 1928
Clara Bow in 1928 / Photo: Getty Images

There are many aspects of Bow’s life that are picked up for the character of Nellie in Babylon. For example, on the tape we see how his production company offers him a huge sum of money to “behave” at events. And the same thing happened with Paramount to avoid further controversy.

Not everything that was said about Clara Bow was true. A rumor spread about a sexual night between Bow and the University of California football team. Nothing was ever proven, but the scandal followed her all her life. This event is referred to in Babylon.

Jack Conrad–John Gilbert

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt gives life to Jack Conrad, the most popular actor (that means heartthrob) in the industry in the 1920s. He is the highest paid actor and a box office magnet among huge productions where he, and only he, is the star. In Babylon we see how despite being completely drunk, they continue with the shooting and filming complex scenes.

For years, Conrad remains the top figure, but after the arrival of sound in the cinema, his career began to decline. In the tape they say that despite having a good voice, their abilities as interpreters did not translate with the change in the industry. And little by little, we see how he is relegated to horrible movies.

Check out the amazing trailer for 'Babylon' with Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie here!
Brad Pitt as John Gilbert in ‘Babylon’/Photo: Paramount Pictures

The actor that Chazelle took as a reference is neither more nor less than John Gilbert, whom we describe in the same way as the most popular actor of the time, the highest grossing and the highest paid in the MGM portfolio. Some specialists say that Gilbert’s voice was the one that threw his career, but in reality, this is more a myth or rumor than a fact.

Its fall simply coincided with the arrival of the sound. Y His last tape, in fact, was filmed in 1934 under the title of The Captain Hates the Seaof which they refer in Babylon before the sad end facing Jack Conrad. But how do you know that the direct reference is Gilbert?

Pitt’s character’s personal life is much more similar to Gilbert’s among several failed marriages, including the first we see on screen as Olivia Wilde. The same with the issue of alcoholism, which is considered the cause of his death at age 38.

We would love to say thanks to the writer of this article for this remarkable material

The real-life actors who inspired the main characters of ‘Babylon’

Discover our social media profiles , as well as other pages that are related to them.