Ever since it was announced back in 2019, Damien Chazelle’s new film surprised the world with one of the most stellar casts in recent years. While ‘Whiplash’ gave us that masterful duel between J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller, and ‘City of Stars: La La Land’ made us believe in love again with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, ‘Babylon’ will condense some of the best-known faces in the current industry to portray the peculiar characters of classic Hollywood set in the 1920s. Among them, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, Diego Calva Hernandez and Katherine Waterston stand out. However, one of the most experienced names is Jean Smart, the shrewd columnist Elinor St. John who is in charge of reporting everything that happens in this convulsive era for the cinema. After decades as a perennial sideline, Smart is at the top of her game, starring in the award-winning series ‘Hacks’.

Jean Smart ('Babylon')
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“I really admire all of our extras in the party scenes who showed up on set day after day after day after day and were charming and inhibited, hats off to them,” Smart admitted as he recalled the very long sequence shots of bacchanalia and debauchery, “But I was dying laughing. I remember there was a party scene at Brad Pitt’s character Jack’s house. It was a pool party, everyone was jumping into the water with their tuxedos on. I was sitting there, watching everything, but I didn’t realize that, behind me, there were four naked young men playing soccer. And I thought ‘Oh, thanks Damien, now everyone’s going to look at me’.”

As a journalist, Elianor had a brutal influence on the careers of the budding stars of the most classic Hollywood. Silent films were on their last legs and sound films were here to stay, but journalism would continue as the fourth power, in charge of catapulting or burying the careers of actors and actresses, and embodied in the figure of Smart’s character: “I like the fact that he sees everything from the outside, observing. He doesn’t necessarily get involved in what’s going on around him, and it’s fun. He sits back and takes notes.

An unbeatable scene partner.
“There’s a scene where my character and Jack talk, that’s when you realize that Elianor will be immortal,” Smart continues, “I thought they would cut this scene so beautifully written by Damien and break my heart. They didn’t cut anything, With that scene, you see that she’s as caught up in this magic as anyone. She seems more jaded and objective, but this is why she moved all the way from England, to be part of this exciting technology.” The veteran actress did not miss the opportunity to praise her co-star: “Brad Pitt was a fabulous scene partner. He didn’t have to say much, it was all in his eyes.”