Babylon star Diego Calva said being a part of the movie was “totally metafictional”.
A 30-year-old Mexican actor plays elephant trainer and Hollywood actor Manny Torres in a comedy-drama of 1920s Los Angeles, where sound and sound were introduced to film.
Speaking to PA news agency on the red carpet at the movie’s premiere in London, Calva said: “Even at this moment, everything about me in this movie was purely meta-fictional, but I think that makes it more special, much more special.” ”
Starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Olivia Wilde, Babylon traces the rise and fall of many characters in an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.
The film’s director, Damien Chazelle, said he wanted a very new actor to play the role, so he chose Calva, who is known for starring in the crime drama television series Narcos: Mexico.
Chazelle, 37, who previously ran Whiplash and La La Land, told PA she wanted her latest project to “break the boundaries between old and new.”
He said: “I think about it so much, I would say Hollywood history, but really history in general is cyclical.
“And I think, especially in this movie, I can’t help but constantly remember the parallels to the present.
“We also wanted it to not feel like a period film or a history lesson. So we wanted the film to have a kind of modern sensibility and feel like it just popped off the screen for today’s audiences.
“So my hope is to break the boundaries between old and new a little bit, to tell a story about how the old becomes the new, about this important time of transition where I will say that old Hollywood has become our Hollywood. know today.”
Chazelle, who had been working on Babylon’s story for over a decade before filming began, added: “It’s been a long road, which makes it all the more fulfilling and rewarding… It’s just a dream come true.”
Inspired by Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong, Li Jun Li portrays Lady Fay Zhu, reflecting the historical prejudice against Chinese actresses in Hollywood.
“We’ve made a lot of progress but we haven’t finished it,” he told the PA.
She added: “It’s not as bad as it used to be. Frankly, my character was based on Anna May Wong, and in my research of her life 100 years ago, it was heartbreaking to hear what she had to go through.
“And we’re getting little bits and pieces of that today, but I hope movies like this will move people to empathize and make changes going forward.”
Babylon will be released in UK cinemas on January 20.