Damien Chazelle’s Babylon Adds Li Jun Li as Anna May Wong
According to Collider, Li Jun Li (Wu Assassins, Evil) has been tapped to portray the role of Anna May Wong in director Damien Chazelle’s upcoming period drama film Babylon which will be led by Oscar winner Brad Pitt. This new casting addition comes after it has been confirmed that Oscar nominee Margot Robbie is currently in early talks to replace Emma Stone for the female lead.
The late veteran actress Anna May Wong gained recognition as the first Chinese American Hollywood movie star. She is known for starring in silent films such as The Toll of the Sea and The Thief of Bagdad. Wong also found success as a fashion icon and an international stage star in Europe. Additionally, she is known for famously turning down a supporting role in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s The Good Earth when the studio had refused to consider her for the lead role of the Chinese character and had instead opted to cast a white actor to play the POC role in yellowface. Wong was most recently been portrayed by Michelle Krusiec in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix miniseries Hollywood.
Babylon is described as an original drama set in period Hollywood, a “bold auteur piece with a significant budget.” Lionsgate was previously in the lead to land the movie at auction until Paramount came through with the winning bid.
Paramount has high expectations for the project as they have already slated it for a limited Christmas Day 2021 release in theaters followed by a wide release on January 7, 2022, a prime slate for Oscar season, and given Chazelle’s 23 Oscar nominations across three films. However, given the world’s current situation, it remains unclear if the pandemic had also affected the project’s planned release.
Chazelle, whose credits include 10 Cloverfield Lane, Whiplash, First Man, and The Last Exorcism Part II, wrote the script and will direct. Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe, and Marc Platt will serve as producers.
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images/Phillippe Bosse/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)