Damien Chazelle Explains Why He Almost Cut ‘La La Land’s Amazing Opening Number

     January 9, 2017

This interview was previously posted but with La La Land sweeping up at the Golden Globes, we thought you might like to watch an extended conversation with writer/director Damien Chazelle.

By now most of you have heard the incredible buzz on La La Land. After all, since the film premiered in early September, audience after audience has been wowed by writer-director Damien Chazelle’s second feature with many saying it’s the frontrunner for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards. And like everyone else talking about the film, I’m in complete agreement: La La Land knocked me on my ass and I left the theater stunned by what Chazelle composed on screen. The way he mixes an old fashioned Hollywood musical with a modern day story about life and relationships is nothing short of amazing. While some wondered if Chazelle could top his last film, Whiplash, which showcased a true talent behind the camera, La La Land is like going from the minor leagues to playing in an all-star game. Trust me, La La Land is something you want to see on the biggest movie screen you can. I can’t recommend it enough. The film stars Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everette Scott, Josh Pence, and J.K. Simmons


Image via Lionsgate

With the film expanding into more cities, I recently sat down with Damien Chazelle for an exclusive video interview. During our wide-ranging conversation he talked about the long “laborious” editing process thanks to the tricky tonal balancing acts, how for three months the opening number was cut out of the movie, his creative collaboration with editor Tom Cross, deleted scenes, if he’s interested in making studio tentpole films, how he might do his Neil Armstrong movie that could star Ryan Gosling next year, and so much more. If you’re curious about the behind-the-scenes of the making of La La Land you’re really going to like what he had to say.

Check out what they had to say in the video above and below are some images and links to other La La Land articles.

Damien Chazelle:

  • Talks about the surprise of the film’s success.
  • How much of his original vision ended up on screen?
  • Talks about shooting the film in 40 days compared to the 20 days he had for Whiplash.
  • Did he do any additional photography after the first test screenings?
  • la-la-land-damien-chazelle

    Image via Summit

    Talks about the long “laborious” editing process thanks to the tricky tonal balancing acts between scenes and how editing La La Land made him realize how straightforward of a film Whiplash was.

  • Says there’s no musical number in the movie that they didn’t cut out at some point in the editing process.
  • Did they ever get so close to the material that they lost track of what’s good and what’s bad?
  • Talks about his yin and yang creative collaboration with editor Tom Cross.
  • Why there was a lot that ended up on the floor, but not any of the musical numbers.
  • Does he intend to release the deleted scenes?
  • What does he want to do now that he’s in a good position to get a dream project made?
  • Talks about how he might do the Neil Armstrong movie that could star Ryan Gosling and shoot next year.
  • Is he interested in making studio tentpole films?


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