For an idea that had already sounded awesome on paper, La La Land turned out to be one of those realities that seemed to not only live up to the hype people heaped upon it, but also exceeded it. With all of the old fashioned wizardry that Hollywood became famous for, the film's soon-to-be-classic opening number epitomizes just how awesome Damian Chazelle's ode to the classics really is. You can see it in the filming process, as a video has been shared that shows the tools of the trade at work. And the best part is, you can see it for yourself below.
This video comes to us from one of the camera operators on La La Land, Ari Robbins. A frequent collaborator of Best Cinematography nominee Linus Sandgren, his Instagram provides the world with a clear view of the choreography going on in front of, as well as behind, the cameras on that freeway set. Be sure to watch the entire video, as the complete picture of just what went into this introductory moment is painted, and it's a process that gives us the best chills imaginable.
Now we must warn you, the La La Land in this video obviously sounds a little different than the one you heard in the theaters. That's because they're using a temp track that roughly approximates the feel of "Another Day Of Sun," with final vocals and instrumentation to be added later. Still, that's the roughest edge to be found in this behind the scenes video, as all of the dancing and movement is 100% authentic. There's no blue screen, no green screen, and no stunt doubles. These folks are doing it live for the camera, and that's what you saw up on that silver screen in your local movie theater.
Of course, the parody / backlash machine is probably going to start up any day now, and La La Land's success is going to be both questioned and mocked to various degrees. What can't be mocked though is the effort that went into this film, and the fact that filmmakers like Damian Chazelle have used their love for classic cinema as grist for a mill that keeps the old traditions alive. Say what you will about the film, good or bad, but at least keep the following in mind whenever Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance across your field of vision: this could be the start of more mold breaking musicals, and that's a good thing.
La La Land is in theaters now, but you probably already knew that.