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Jean Smart Joins Damien Chazelle's Star-Studded Period Drama Babylon

(Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

As production continues on Damien Chazelle’s newest feature Babylon , The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Emmy winner Jean Smart ( Watchmen ) has officially signed on to join the star-studded cast of Paramount Pictures’ upcoming period drama. Smart is reportedly portraying a Hollywood critic who can make or break careers. She will be joining previously announced leads Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, who are reuniting after two years since starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood .

Smart first gained recognition through her role as Lana Gardener in NBC’s Frasier sitcom which had earned her two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Her performance in HBO’s acclaimed limited series Watchmen had also earned her an Emmy nomination. She most recently starred in HBO Max’s comedy series Hacks which had just been renewed for a second season.

Babylon is described as an original drama set in period Hollywood, a “bold auteur piece with a significant budget.” It is also reportedly going to be R-rated, where the story will take place during the film industry’s major shift from silent film to talkies. It is also said to be exploring the rise and fall of multiple characters.

The all-star cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Olivia Wilde, Tobey Maguire, Spike Jonze, Samara Weaving, Max Minghella, Katherine Waterston, Flea, Phoebe Tonkin, Rory Scovel, Lukas Haas, Eric Roberts. P.J. Byrne, Damon Gupton, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo, and Li Jun Li, with Li set as Anna May Wong.

Babylon will be written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Damien Chazelle ( La La Land , First Man ). Producers are Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe, and Marc Platt,. It is executive produced by Tobey Maguire, Helen Estabrook, and Adam Siegel.

Originally scheduled for a 2021 release, the Brad Pitt-led film is currently set to debut on December 25, 2022, for a limited release which will then be followed by a wide theatrical release on January 6, 2023.

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