9:00am PT by Brian Porreca
J.K. Simmons Was Offered Choice of Two 'La La Land' Roles Before Stars Signed On
Long before Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were cast in La La Land, J.K. Simmons, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for Damien Chazelle's Whiplash, was offered not one but two roles in the Globe-winning musical.
Simmons tells THR: "During the Whiplash shoot, he sent me the script and said, 'There's really not much of a part for you. I'd love for you to do one of these two little parts. Let me know which one.' I picked the guy who hates jazz [over playing Emma's father]." Though Simmons is onscreen for only a few minutes, there's plenty of footage for the DVD. "Damien let go of the reins, and Ryan and I improvised like crazy," he laughs. "There's a lot of comedy gold."
This story first appeared in the Jan. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.