- Exclusive: “Babylon” director Damien Chazelle said he knew the film would “get some people mad.”
- “Babylon” has received a mixed response from critics.
- The director said he doesn’t “pay that much attention” to reviews.
“Babylon” director Damien Chazelle exclusively told Insider that he knew his latest project would divide audiences and critics around the world.
The new film from the “Whiplash” and “La La Land” director starts in the 1920s, as Hollywood shifts from silent movies to sound and, later, full-color pictures. The film depicts the roaring ’20s in all of its unhinged glory, spotlighting wild parties, sex, and depravity, all the way through its lengthy three-hour runtime.
However, “Babylon” hasn’t been as critically acclaimed as some of Chazelle’s previous movies. It currently has a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is far less than the 94% score for “Whiplash,” and 91% for “La La Land.”
But speaking to Insider ahead of the movie’s UK release on Friday, Chazelle said that he doesn’t look at the reaction to his films after they are released.
“I don’t really pay that much attention to that,” Chazelle said. “You know, it’s an interesting thing of, where you make something, and then I do believe that it sort of becomes — once the filmmaker finishes the movie — the audience’s, and that includes the critics, includes everyone. And everyone’s gonna have a different take on the film. And I think they’re all legitimate.”
He continued: “It becomes the world’s movie, in a way. That’s why I sort of don’t really believe in — though I’m fine when people do it — filmmakers going back and tinkering after the fact and whatnot. I mean, it’s fine, but I do think at a certain point, a movie represents a moment in time and a moment in history.”
—Insider Entertainment (@insiderent) January 16, 2023
The director also said that healthy debate over movies can be a good thing, and he was prepared for “Babylon” to get people talking.
“But it’s good to have something that stimulates conversation and debate and a lot of fierce opinions on either side. We all knew the movie was gonna ruffle some feathers and get some people mad, and I think that’s good. More movies should do that,” Chazelle said.
“Babylon” is out now in the US and released in the UK on Friday, January 20.