Emma Stone looks to be reuniting with her La La Land director Damien Chazelle for his next project, Babylon. Chazelle went in a very different direction with his follow-up to the hit 2016 musical by, instead, making an ambitious biopic about Neil Armstrong, with Ryan Gosling playing the iconic astronaut, in First Man. While critically-heralded, the movie didn't reach quite the same levels of success. Now, however, Chazelle is heading back to Tinseltown for his latest, and several studios are very interested to get in on the action.
According to a new report, Damien Chazelle has completed the script for Babylon, which he intends to direct as his next movie. It's stated that the filmmaker also wrote another musical, but that isn't on the table right now. Babylon, meanwhile, is simply described, for the time being, as an "original drama set in period Hollywood." Emma Stone is being eyed for the lead role, which makes this is a particularly appealing package deal, given what happened last time she worked with Chazelle. Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe and Marc Platt are on board to produce.
Lionsgate, who distributed La La Land, is said to be the frontrunner to land the project. However, several other major studios are said to be in the running as well. At the present time, it isn't clear which studios that might be. It's expected that the bidding process will be a quick one, meaning this project could get going pretty fast. The report notes that this movie is considered to be an ambitious, and likely expensive, auteur project, which means it will require a significant financial commitment from whatever studio wins out. While that presents a certain level of risk, Damien Chazelle has proved that such risk can come with great reward as well.
La La Land went on to become one of the most critically-heralded movies of 2016, ultimately garnering 14 Oscar nominations. Though, it will always be remembered for the Best Picture mix-up with Moonlight. In any event, Emma Stone won for Best Actress and, in addition to the critical praise, the throwback musical danced its way to an impressive $446 million at the global box office, working from a budget of just $30 million.
Assuming the deal with Emma Stone closes, this could be a huge break for Lionsgate. The studio has suffered a series of flops over the past few years, such as Power Rangers, Robin Hood and this year's Hellboy reboot. They need solid hits wherever they can be found and, while nothing is guaranteed in Hollywood these days, this feels, on paper, like it could be as close to a sure bet as they come. If Stone and Damien Chazelle can capture some of that same magic again, Babylon could be huge. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details on the project are made available. This news was previously reported by Deadline.