With Whiplash, Damien Chazelle revealed himself to be a red-hot filmmaker worthy of keeping an eye on. However, his follow up, the joyous and infectious La La Land, immediately elevates him to a different class. Suddenly, Chazelle looks like a magician, weaving an impossibly skillful musical romance on the big screen that's both classic and contemporary, urban and celestial. And Chazelle actually drops the mic in the opening moments of La La Land with a jaw-dropping, splashy and majestically staged musical number in the middle of a Los Angeles traffic jam.
I honestly can not wait for you guys to see this sequence on the big screen. It's mesmerizing, and you will be shaking your head wondering HOW Damien Chazelle managed to film this incredible, eye-popping musical number on an L.A. freeway. But during a recent conversation with Chazelle at the Savannah Film Festival, where La La Land played in competition, the director actually dropped a bombshell of his own: the sequence that people can't stop talking about almost didn't make it into the movie at all.
That's right. There was a cut of La La Land -- that existed recently, according to Chazelle -- that didn't include the traffic jam musical sequence. Which, after you have seen it, you will know how ludicrous that sounds. But the way Chazelle explains it to me:
This still blows my mind. Once you are able to see La La Land in a few weeks, the opening number, set to the rousing "Another Day of Sun," will have you smiling, stomping your feet, bouncing in your chair and wondering how the hell Damien Chazelle pulled it off. The reality that he almost pulled it out of his movie, altogether, is lunacy. We can only celebrate that cooler heads prevailed.
La La Land is a contemporary musical set in Los Angeles, and stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as a struggling actress and jazz aficionado, respectively, who fall in and out of love. It has been busy on the film festival circuit, but will open in theaters on December 9 (limited) before going wider on December 16.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.