Following the acclaimed opening night debut of La La Land, the HFPA met director Damien Chazelle and his star (and twice Golden Globe nominee) Emma Stone (Golden Globe nominee Ryan Gosling having been kept from the Lido by filming duties on Blade Runner). “Venice is the perfect launching pad for a movie like La La Land” said 31 year-old Chazelle, 31 years old, whose second film had the honor of opening the 73rd Venice Film Festival. “When I heard we were invited to Venice I immediately felt a sense of rush, because the movie is about a certain kind of magic, and it is difficult to think of a more magical place than this city.” Unfortunately Chazelle and his star, Emma Stone, who plays the lovely aspiring actress Mia opposite Ryan Gosling in the role of a passionate jazz musician, won’t have any time to visit Venice: after the premiere and a day of interviews they are off to the Telluride Film Festival. Chazelle had dreamt to write and direct a musical since his college days together with his friend composer Justin Hurwitz, and after the success of his debut feature, Whiplash, he was able to put it together.
The film is a romantic story, in the spirit of the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies, and also a love postcard to Los Angeles, even with its traffic jams and the “bad” views over the Valley, bringing the audience back with a sense of nostalgia to the time of the great Hollywood musicals. “I must have been a drummer in my past life, for me everything is about rhythm,” continued Chazelle, sitting next to Emma Stone on the top floor of the Danieli Hotel, overlooking the Canal Grande and the Church of La Salute. “Whiplash was all about fast cuts and right angles. This movie had to be romantic, meaning more round angles, more Vincente Minnelli.” “I have danced and sang since I was a kid, but never professionally,” added Stone, in a beautiful Chanel brown knit sweater and skirt. “I loved that this movie was bringing us back to Top Hat and Judy Garland; but at the same time it’s a modern story, filled with naturalism. I was like Mia, I always dreamt big, and always dreaming to be an actress.”