Hot Project: Damien Chazelle Period Hollywood Script ‘Babylon, Emma Stone Circling; Will Lionsgate Leap?

EXCLUSIVE: Several studios are lining up for Babylon, a script that Damien Chazelle has written to direct as his next film. I’m told that Lionsgate, which distributed the 14 Oscar-nominated La La Land, is considered the frontrunner to land a project described to me as an original drama that is set in period Hollywood. Emma Stone, Oscar-nominated for La La Land, is circling to star. Sources said the film is a bold auteur piece with a significant budget and that other studios are in the mix. Rumor was Chazelle had written another musical, but I’m told that is not the case here.

At a moment when the Hollywood box office is being dominated by sequels and live action reboots of animated Disney films, Chazelle’s film is a breath of fresh air, something to get excited to leave the house to see. I expect it to land quickly once a series of meetings are completed between the filmmakers and all the studios. It is a commitment though, and that is why the auction is playing out methodically. The film will be produced by Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe and Marc Platt. Stay tuned.

This comes after Netflix stepped up to green light another golden era Hollywood film in Mank, with David Fincher directing a script his father Howard Fincher wrote about Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, with Gary Oldman playing the scribe in a drama that chronicled his battles with Orson Welles on the classic film.

Chazelle last directed First Man, a drama worth another look in the 50th anniversary of the historic moon landing. He has separately set up to exec produce an event series at Apple TV.

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