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La La Land descended on London earlier this month ahead of the film’s theatrical release in January, with The Hollywood Reporter teaming with Code Advisors to put on a special screening at the U.K. capital’s Soho Hotel.
The screening, attended by several U.K.-based Academy members was followed by a panel discussion, in which star Emma Stone, director Damien Chazelle and music director Justin Hurwitz were able to offer a few anecdotes about the film’s production.
Stone joked that she was now tired of hooking up with co-star Ryan Gosling onscreen, with La La Land being the third time after Gangster Squad and Crazy Stupid Love. But she added that it was a “pleasure” to have to learn the various dance styles and moves with “someone you already know so well.”
Chazelle, meanwhile, commented on La La Land’s world premiere at the opening of the Venice Film Festival, where he was so convinced the film would fall flat that he spent much of the first scenes with his eyes closed.
“That’s just me,” he said, adding that he sat next to the festival’s director and there had been “such a long wait” before the film actually started that he was already exceptionally nervous.
Chazelle also joked about J.K. Simmons — who stars in La La Land, alongside the director’s feature debut Whiplash and its prior short — being his “lucky charm,” saying he hoped he could appear in all of his films.
“We actually shot his scene in the bar first, and we thought it was funny that he goes from a jazz band leader in Whiplash to playing a club manager who totally hates jazz,” said Chazelle.
For the scene in question, which sees Gosling’s character on the piano, Chazelle admitted that a jazz-playing hand double had been hired to fill in for the actor. “But he wasn’t needed, because Gosling learned how to play it all himself.”
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