14 Things You Probably Didn't Know About La La Land
La La Land is causing a fan frenzy this award season. Not only does it feature a star-studded cast, but it is also bringing back musicals in a big way. Even if you're already familiar with the enchanting music and the romantic story, there are quite a few interesting tidbits about the film you probably didn't know. Was Ryan Gosling really playing the piano during the movie? And why is Emma Stone's dress yellow? Find out below.
You're Probably Familiar With Damien Chazelle's Past Work
Believe it or not, La La Land isn't Chazelle's first big success. The film's writer and director is also known for co-writing 10 Cloverfield Lane and writing and directing Whiplash, which earned him five Academy Award nominations.
The Film Has Been a Long Time Coming
Chazelle originally penned the idea for La La Land while studying at Harvard University with the film's composer, Justin Hurwitz. He wrote the screenplay in 2010, but had trouble finding a studio willing to produce it. However, after major success with his film, Whiplash, in 2014, Summit Entertainment agreed to make the feature.
The Setting Was Originally Boston
In Chazelle's original screenplay, the film was set in Boston. In fact, the iconic scene that takes place at LA's Griffith Observatory was actually set at Boston's Museum of Science. He eventually changed the scenery to reflect his own move to LA after college. Bonus fact: Boston also happens to be the setting of Chazelle's first feature film, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench.
The Producer and Lyricists Have Some Major Ties to Broadway
Marc Platt has a long list of hits on his résumé, but one of his most noteworthy credits has to be Wicked. Not only did he produce the original Broadway production, but he's set to work on the upcoming movie adaptation. As for Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo recently helmed the critically acclaimed Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen, which stars Platt's son, Ben. They are also working with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron on The Greatest Showman.
Miles Teller and Emma Watson Were Supposed to Star
Can you imagine? Watson eventually dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with Beauty and the Beast, but Teller's departure was a bit more complicated. While The Hollywood Reporter claimed that his exit was due to a $4 million pay demand, the actor, who worked with Chazelle on Whiplash, tells a different story. "I got a call from my agent, saying, 'Hey, I just got a call from Lionsgate. Damien told them that he no longer thinks you're creatively right for the project. He's moving on without you.'" Harsh!
The Movie Was Choreographed by Mandy Moore, but Not the One You're Probably Thinking Of
No, the This Is Us actress didn't work on the movie. It was actually the choreographer, Mandy Moore, who is best known for her work on So You Think You Can Dance.
This Was Stone and Gosling’s Third Collaboration
The two worked together in Crazy, Stupid, Love in 2011 and Gangster Squad two years later. La La Land was also Finn Wittrock and Gosling's second collaboration, having costarred in The Big Short in 2015.
The Opening Sequence Was Shot During the Middle of a Heat Wave
If you thought the opening dance number for "Another Day of Sun" looked complicated, you weren't wrong. Chazelle revealed that they actually shut down an E-Z pass over-ramp for a Saturday and a Sunday in August of 2015. Talk about a heated situation.
Chazelle Held Weekly Movie Screenings For the Cast and Crew
To help the cast and crew get in the right mind set, Chazelle held screenings of classical films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Singin' in the Rain, Top Hat, and Boogie Nights on the soundstages every Friday night. His idea must have rubbed off on Ryan Gosling. The actor admitted that he watched Singin' in the Rain every day to help him get into character.
Gosling Is Actually Playing the Piano
No, the actor didn't use a body double for those piano scenes — that was really him! He learned how to play specifically for the role.
The Scene Featuring "A Lovely Night" Took 2 Days to Shoot
The scene may have only been six minutes in the movie, but it actually took eight takes and two days to shoot since they were trying to capture the brief "magic hour" moment at sunset.
John Legend Ad-Libbed a Bunch of His Lines
Even though the singer admitted that he hasn't really acted since since Fiddler on the Roof in high school, one of his ad-libbed lines became a big part of the movie. That's right, his character's big monologue was actually improvised.
Stone Inspired 1 of Her Character's Iconic Looks
Stone's signature dancing dress from "A Lovely Night" was selected for a reason. Costume designer Mary Zophres admitted that she was inspired by an Atelier Versace gown Stone wore to promote The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.
The Movie Has Already Broken Records
This year, the film recently set the record for the most Golden Globes won in a single show with seven awards.