EMMA STONE - LA LA LAND
By Frank Avriveso
Emma Stone has firmly planted herself among the Hollywood elite with numerous roles and accolades to her name. Nominations and blockbuster titles aside she seems to have a down to earth and relatable quality to her that makes audiences want to see more of this petite actress who hails from Arizona. Stone’s latest turn in cinema is with acclaimed writer and director Damien Chazelle whose film Whiplash made waves in the entertainment industry. Damien’s latest effort
La La Land reunites Emma with co-star Ryan Gosling in a modern take on musical films. The movie takes a journey through modern-day Los Angeles in a very retro kind of a way. It pays homage to the days of Hollywood past creating a nostalgia that makes you look for Debbie Reynolds in the background, while at the same time reminding you of the gritty reality of modern-day times. We sat down with Emma and asked her about the journey creating this critically acclaimed feature.
STRIPLV: Did the final cut of La La Land live up to your expectations?
STONE: I think it exceeded them. I think Damian has done something remarkable. He knew exactly what he was doing. It was incredible to see.
STRIPLV: Can you remember when you first heard about it or read the script? What did you think about it then?
STONE: I first met Damian, we had lunch and talked about the movie. He gave me the script, and it was so beautiful, I wept at the end, and the way he wrote the ending was so poetic. I wish people could read the script, alongside watching the movie! Damian walked me through all the visuals and played music for me. We talked about it for a long time. It was a testament to Damian. He had his vision locked in..
STRIPLV: How did you prepare?
STONE: A lot of dance training, a lot of singing one on one with the music supervisor. He has a studio in his house, and we pre-recording the songs there, but most of the songs were sung live during filming. I watched Singing in the Rain a month before rehearsals began, and it was so inspirational to watch that film. I’ve realized that most of those dance numbers were shot in one take and realized how hard they were working.
STRIPLV: So I guess you would get together with Ryan and work on the dance numbers?
STONE: Almost daily, with the choreographer Mandy Moore. I think it was about two and half months of rehearsal. We had these stations on this big production office spot. There was the dance room with Christmas lights strung up. There was the singing room, and there was Ryan’s piano room where he took his piano lessons. It was all kind of in one space.
STRIPLV: Do you enjoy making films like this when it requires this kind of physical preparation?
STONE: I realized that I enjoyed it very much. When you have months to work
on something and rehearse, it’s like theater. You get to bond with everyone you’re working with; you feel like it’s a team effort, and that really makes it a more joyous experience. It makes it scarier since we put six months of our lives giving it our all and who knows what’s going to happen in the end.
STRIPLV: Is Mia (your character) more relatable to you because she’s a struggling actress?
STONE: Definitely, I obviously could relate to moving to L.A., auditioning, being rejected, and putting yourself out there and not having it work out. I could relate to her in a lot of ways, and I also admired her in the sense that, I mean, I’ve never written something for myself and put on a play; put myself out there in that way. I think it’s so great that she’s also a writer creating this for herself.
STRIPLV: Did the preparation with Ryan before shooting help with your chemistry together? Was that the case and what kind of collaborator is he?
STONE: Ryan’s a wonderful collaborator. One of the greatest things about making this movie was being able to work with Ryan again. He makes it very easy; it’s always light; it’s always fun, and he’s so smart, he has such great ideas for the characters and for the story that it makes the whole process better. Learning to dance together and all of that was fun, we have known each other for so long, it was so hard not to laugh through a lot of it. It was a great bonding experience for all of us. It just felt like a big team.