Babylon (2023)

A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, tracing the rise and fall of multiple characters in an era of unbridled decadence and depravity during Hollywood's transition from silent films and to sound films in the late 1920s.
Full Certification

  Animal Action

Poster for Babylon
Release Date: January 9, 2023
Certification: Full Certification

In the opening scenes which feature an elephant, the elephant is created by visual effects. It’s one hundred percent CGI.

In the scene where the actor grabs the chicken and runs out of the house, prior to filming the scene, the wranglers went over the action with the actor. The trainer stands immediately offset to catch chicken from actor at the end of scene.

In the scene where there’s a huge party in a ballroom and we see a cow led by a man across the room, prior to filming there was a safety meeting is held with cast and crew.
Prior to shooting the scene, a mat was laid down to keep the cow from slipping.
The cow was held by a wrangler, who was also dressed in costume. On action, the partygoers started dancing and performing. The hero actor takes his queue and begins to perform. Wrangler was also queued to walk the cow. He walks the cow around the circular, risen bandstand and lands back at his original mark.

In a sprawling scene where an actress walks onto a large outdoor set where a production is filming a movie and we see a man brushing a llama, a camel in the background, and chickens grazing in vicinity, wranglers arrived early to set, animals were given prep time. Trainers were off-camera the whole time, watching the actors engage with the animals. All the animals were given food, water and shade between takes.

In the scene where they’re filming a fake war with men on horseback in an open desert, prior to shooting production held several safety meetings with wranglers, actors and background actors. There were several rehearsals to acclimate and pattern the horse and actor/ rider. On action, the riders rode horses at a fast pace towards each other and the horses passed each other closely as if they were in a jousting match. The stunt riders had fake weapons like swords. At cut, the horses were walked back to their sides of the field, given a moment to reset and rest and prepare for the next week. The riding field had been scouted previously by the wranglers and holes and duvets were filled before. Mortars were let off far from actors or horses. When you see a dead horse, the horse was a fake, the documentation was sent to the American Humane office.e

In the scene where the actor drives on set, and on the side of the set we see a camel, chickens and a llama, production discussed placement and action for various background animals. Handlers, in period costumes, take their place on set holding their perspective animals. There was water and food and shelter for all animals between takes.

In the scene where the actor drives into town and sees a man on horseback in the road, all background set, including the horse and wagon, and the horse and rider, and vehicles. Most cars are moving on the intersecting street to the main set street, where the horses are. On action, the background starts to move, as the actor drives and sees the man on horseback.

In the scene where the actress drives in the desert and stops her car in front of a giant rattlesnake and she subsequently picks it up before being bitten by the snake on the neck, prior to shooting the scene, the trainer removed the snake from its holder and placed him on the ground and lets him curl up under a black plastic tub, provided by trainers. Morgo Robie’s stunt double stood on the opening mark with other actors standing nearby and behind her. When everyone was set the trainer lifted the black tub off the snake and the snake got into the strike pose. Jules then cued the stunt double to walk forward and stop a few feet from snake. For the bite, production placed a mannequin on the ground that is supposed to be the actor that was going to originally ‘fight the snake.’ The trainer loosely held the snake with the tongs and on action let go, and the snake slithered around in frame 5-7 feet. After camera has rolled the trainer cued the actress and she walks forward toward the snake as if she were going to walk up and grab it. She actually grabbed a rubber snake and swung it around… acting as if she were bit by snake. They also used vfx to make the bite look more realistic. They also used a fake snake when the actor walks over and cuts its head off.

In the scene where the actor grabs the rat and eats it, prior to shooting the scene actors brought three buckets carrying five rats each to the start mark. Trainers and cameraman practiced with one rat walking along the corridor. Trainers took their places on set. On action, the trainers picked up rats one at a time and placed them on the Corridor floor.
Before actor mimes eating the rat, the trainer hands this rat to the actor. On action, the actor humanely lifted the rat at the base of its tail and tilted his head back. The actor lowers the rat as if it is going to go into his mouth, but instead he lowers the rat on the side of his face that is not facing camera. From the camera angle it looks as though the man is lowering the rat into his mouth. To complete this take, Actor actually eats a fake rat.

In the scene where the actor runs past an alligator, trainers brought the alligator to set, removed from box and prepared for filming. The animal had a metal chain placed around its neck. The trainers handled the chain/ leash in order to keep the alligator in its proper place for filming. Alligator was parked paralleled to the actors walking path. On action, the actors walked A to B. As they walked past the alligator, the trainer tapped the ground near the alligator. The animal lunged which gave the look that it has lunged at the actors.