Before Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were cast to play the leads in La La Land, the Damien Chapelle-directed musical had a different duo in mind for the roles of Mia Dolan and Sebastian Wilder. Originally, Emma Watson and Miles Teller were supposed to star in La La Land, and while Watson later attributed her departure to already being committed to Beauty and the Beast, the circumstances behind Teller's exit have been mysterious. One report claimed that Teller stepped away from the production after he didn't receive the payday he wanted, but Teller firmly denies this wasn't the case. When asked what the real reason for him not appearing in La La Land was, Teller said the following:
A couple people know the truth. When that movie was almost falling apart, I stayed attached to it and told directors that I really wanted to work with that I couldn't jump ship from La La Land just because the project was in flux. I'll go to my grave knowing that when push came to shove I expressed extreme loyalty to Damien and that movie. That's sorta all I can say.
Two years ago, Miles Teller said that he found out he would no longer star in La La Land from his agent, who had received a call from director Damien Chazelle, who reportedly claimed that Teller was no longer "creatively right" for the project. Teller's above quote seems to line up with that previous account, as opposed to the rumor from last year, which stated that Teller had been offered $4 million, but he wanted more money, and as negotiations continued, eventually he just wasn't available anymore. Clearly Teller isn't ready to divulge the full details of what happened, but he made it clear to Vulture that he was keen on appearing in La La Land, saying that he wouldn't have turned down a part like that over $4 million.
Miles Teller's experience with La La Land adds to the long list of Hollywood "what ifs?", like if Eric Stoltz had starred in Back to the Future rather than be recast in the beloved sci-fi movie. Fortunately for La La Land, it proved quite successful with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as its leads, making over $445 million world wide and earning numerous accolades, including walking away with six Oscars and six Golden Globes. It also experienced a brief moment as the Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards earlier this year, only to have that honor quickly snatched away when it was revealed that Moonlight was the real winner.