If you were to look at Whiplash and guess what writer/director Damien Chazelle’s next film would be, a Los Angeles-set love story musical would probably not be your first thought. And yet, that’s exactly what Chazelle made with La La Land, and I cannot wait to see it. Our first look at the film has arrived today via the first image, and while we’ve seen the coupling of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling before (a couple times, even), the prospect of the two singing and dancing is incredibly exciting.
The film revolves around the burgenoning love between a musician (Gosling) and a struggling actress (Stone), and as we can see here, Chazelle was certainly influenced by the classic Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals. And indeed, Chazelle didn’t choose Los Angeles as the setting by happenstance: “There’s an incredible romanticism in L.A. that you don’t always see when you’re stuck in traffic on the 405.”
While this is certainly a bit of a 180 from Chazelle, I’m enthused to see the filmmaker taking a bold risk with his second feature rather than just riding the Whiplash wave with another dark drama. And he’s already planning something entirely different for his third movie: a process-driven biopic of Neil Armstrong that traces his time at NASA up through the moon landing. Talk about range.
Take a closer look at the first La La Land image below, via the folks at EW. La La Land opens in theaters on July 15, 2016 and also stars J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, and John Legend.