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Jean Smart, who is generating significant Emmy Awards buzz thanks to her starring turn in HBO Max comedy Hacks, is the latest bright light to join the all-star cast of Babylon, the ode to Hollywood’s golden age that Damien Chazelle wrote and is directing for Paramount Pictures.
Max Minghella, Lukas Haas, Flea, Rory Scovel, Samara Weaving, Eric Roberts, P.J. Byrne and Damon Gupton are also part of the sprawling cast with Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze, Phoebe Tonkin and Tobey Maguire, the latter one of the film’s executive producers, appearing in the film as well.
Written by Chazelle and set in the late 1920s during the movie industry’s transition from silent films to talkies, Babylon explores the rise and fall of multiple characters and has been described as “The Great Gatsby on steroids.”
Sources say Smart is playing a Hollywood journalist/critic who can make or break careers.
Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe and Marc Platt are producing. Paramount is planning a platformed release, opening limitedly on Dec. 25, 2022, before going wide on Jan. 6, 2023.
Smart is enjoying a so-called career comeback and rediscovery (not that she ever really went away) amongst certain audiences for her work in Hacks as a Las Vegas diva looking to spruce up her act by working with a 25-year-old played by Hannah Einbinder. Hacks debuted in May to rave reviews and by June had scored a second-season order. She also co-starred in the Kate Winslet-led limited series Mare of Easttown, also on HBO. Smart has also been predicted to be a lock for some recognition when Emmy nominations are announced Tuesday.
Smart became a network star in the 1980s thanks to CBS hit Designing Women. She earned Emmy nominations for her work as the very shady first lady in 24, Samantha Who? and Fargo. More recently, she played former superheroine Silk Spectre in HBO’s Watchmen.
The actress, whose movie credits include Sweet Home Alabama and A Simple Favor, is repped by WME and Untitled.
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