How ‘La La Land’ Evolved From Musical Passion Project To Oscar Heavyweight – The Contenders Video

La La Land Emma Stone Damien Chazelle John Legend Justin Hurwitz

It is being showered with awards, nominations, praise, box office success and all kinds of cool things, but when La La Land came to our big awards-season event The Contenders Presented By Deadline, the movie was just getting started despite having already been on the fall festival circuit.


In front of a packed DGA theatre filled with Oscar and other key guild voters, director Damien Chazelle, composer Justin Hurwitz and co-stars Emma Stone and John Legend explained the inspiration for this homage to Golden Era musicals that at the same time is contemporary. Chazelle says he used all the good will he could engender from Whiplash to get this true dream project made. Hurwitz talks about the process of creating each note of the score and songs, written with uber-hot songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Stone says her Broadway run in Cabaret richly prepared her to take on a role that required so much singing and dancing, and also talks about relating to her character — a struggling actress with dreams in Hollywood. Legend discusses his acting debut and his own musical contribution to the film with the song, “Start A Fire.”  With La La Land all of them have indeed started a fire, and perhaps a new wave of movie musicals.

Check out our conversation above.

This article was printed from