'Babylon' Switch-Up: Margot Robbie May Replace Emma Stone In Damien Chazelle's Hollywood Drama

After taking a detour to space for his most recent film, First Man, filmmaker Damien Chazelle is returning to a Hollywood setting for his newest movie, Babylon. Emma Stone, who won an Oscar for her performance in Chazelle's terrific 2016 movie La La Land, has had to drop out of playing the lead role in his upcoming feature – and Margot Robbie (Birds of Prey) is being eyed to replace her.

Deadline reports that Margot Robbie may end up leading the Babylon cast, since Emma Stone had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. I haven't been able to find any active projects that she's attached to as an actress, but she started a production company earlier this year and is producing her Zombieland co-star Jesse Eisenberg's feature directorial debut, so maybe the conflict has something to do with her work as a producer. (She's also starring in the Cruella origin film for Disney, which has already wrapped, but her requirements to do press for that project could potentially be what's causing the interference here.)

Robbie is in early talks to take Stone's place and to reunite with her Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-star Brad Pitt, who has been attached to this project as the male lead since the beginning. Since Robbie and Pitt did not share any significant screen time in Tarantino's L.A.-based movie, I look forward to seeing what they can do together here.

But Stone and Robbie have very different energies as performers. Robbie is not an easy 1:1 replacement for Stone's easy-going charm, and while Stone's character in La La Land talks about having an "old soul," I think the actress has a bit of that, too. She can be modern when needed, but there's also a timelessness to her which seems to allow her to work well in period pieces, also. But even though Robbie did great work as Sharon Tate and was a strong Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, she still feels like a more modern performer to me, so it should be a nice challenge for her to step into a movie set all the way back in the 1920s.

Here's a loose description of the plot:

The story is said to be set in the late 1920s, during the movie industry's transition from silent films to talkies. The rise and fall of fictional and historical characters figure into the proceedings. If deals are made, [Robbie] would portray Clara Bow, the early sex symbol and box office star who was Hollywood's first "It" girl. Pitt would play a fictional character, a silent film star who fails to make the transition to the new technology; sources say he is based on real-life figure John Gilbert.