torsdag den 23. februar 2017

"La La Land": Interview med Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone og Damien Chazelle

Siden "La La Land" fejede benene væk under festivalpublikummet i Venedig og Toronto for et halvt år siden, har filmen samlet 14 oscarnomineringer, 7 Golden Globes og en bunke andre priser op på vejen hertil.

I dag når "La La Land" langt om længe de danske biografer. Jeg så den første gang i Toronto, og mine to efterfølgende gensyn på stort lærred har kun gjort mig mere smaskforelsket i Damien Chazelles brusende ode til drømme, jazz, romantik og gammeldags Hollywood-filmmagi.

“La La Land” hylder 1950'ernes luksuriøse MGM-musicaler, men bryder genren gennem den franske nybølges prisme, så man mærker et stik af knuste drømme under de overdådige primærfarver.

Store dele af filmen er optaget i lange, uklippede indstillinger med Steadicam og/eller kamerakraner. Det gælder også de koreograferede sang- og danseoptrin, som Ryan Gosling og Emma Stone øvede i tre måneder, inden optagelserne gik i gang.

”Damiens kærlighed til film og biografoplevelsen er smittende. Han taler meget om at ville lave film, som man har lyst til at se på det store lærred med et publikum.”
- Ryan Gosling om Damien Chazelle på TIFF 2016

Jeg var så heldig at få interview på Toronto Film Festival i september 2016 med instruktøren og forfatteren bag ”La La Land”, Damien Chazelle, samt begge filmens hovedrolleskuespillere, Emma Stone (Mia) og Ryan Gosling (Sebastian).

Alle tre er nominerede til oscarpriser for deres indsats, og Chazelle og Stone er i skrivende stund storfavoritter for hhv. bedste instruktion og kvindelige hovedrolle. Hvis Damien Chazelle vinder, bliver han som 32-årig den yngste oscarmodtager nogensinde i instruktørkategorien. Jeg kommenterer traditionen tro hele oscaruddelingen live sammen med Filmnørdens Hjørne, når showet afvikles natten til mandag 28. februar dansk tid.

> MIT INTERVIEW MED RYAN GOSLING, Børsen Weekend 17.02.17
(kræver Børsen Premium-abonnement)

(kræver Politiken-abonnement)

> MIT INTERVIEW MED EMMA STONE, Berlingske Tidende 23.02.17
(kræver Berlingske-abonnement)

Herunder får du, eksklusivt for Bries Blog-O-Rama, en samling overskydende interviewcitater fra Toronto, som ikke kom med i de ovenstående artikler om ”La La Land”.

PS: Hvis du vil høre mere om, hvorfor jeg er så begejstret for ”La La Land”, så lyt til den store oscaropvarmningspodcast nr. 8 fra Filmnørdens Hjørne og spol frem til 0:14:37, hvor jeg og resten af redaktionen lynanmelder filmen:

FOR FOREIGN READERS: The following interview excerpts are from my "La La Land" roundtable junket with Damien Chazelle, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone at Toronto Film Festival, September 2016.

DAMIEN CHAZELLE – writer-director, ”La La Land”

Damien Chazelle about his collaboration with composer Justin Hurwitz:
I guess it was a give and take. As I was writing the first draft of the script, Justin [Hurwitz], who I've known since college, was writing the songs and the melodies. First I just wrote out the basic story, not any script scenes, no dialogue, just the basic story. And based on that, he figured out what the love theme would be. And that took months, to figure out what the main melody would be that Ryan plays on the piano the first time Emma hears him and that then gets reprised. Once we figured that out, then we figured out where we were gonna hear this melody in the movie, where are we gonna reprise it. Maybe we'll use that for the planetarium where they go up to the stars. We figured out some of those moments, and then I started writing actual scenes. I'd write out a scene with a musical number and give it off to Justin, and he would start writing melodies. Sometimes I would have a very concrete thing in my head: "Justin, here's what's gonna happen, they're gonna go to this hilltop, they're gonna start dancing and looking for their cars, so write that." Other times, he would send me a piano demo: "I don't know where this might fit in the movie, but here's just a melody that I've been working on," and I might really love it and go, that's beautiful, feels kind of sad, I wonder if that could maybe be a ballad here. So it was a give and take, what was really fun working with him, working with someone you know well.

Damien Chazelle on putting his own Hollywood experiences into the script:
When I first started writing it, I had moved to L.A. three years before, with not much success. So it was this very personal story of two people trying to chase the dream in Los Angeles and things not working out for the longest time. Failed auditions, failed music gigs, or in my case it was failed scripts and directing gigs, trying to get things that wouldn't happen and knock on doors that wouldn't open. It was a feeling that was very resonant to me, like you're in Los Angeles and you are on the outside looking in. The whole city is this glittering showcase, but it's covered in glass, and you are on the outside, and you're trying to find a way in, and you can see it all, and they can see you, but there is no access. That's kind of how it felt.

Damien Chazelle on the difficulties in financing an original movie musical:
It did take those five or six years to convince people. I wrote it initially before doing "Whiplash", so "Whiplash" doing well helped open the doors for it. You sort of have that one moment where you do something small that works, like "Whiplash", where everyone's like, "So what's your next thing?". I knew I had my little opportunity to sneak "La La Land" through the door, that if I waited for too long probably would not happen again. So I made the most of it. But I was just lucky, a lot of it is luck, obviously. But luck and persistence and having people like my producer who just stuck with it forever while all their colleagues were telling them, "What the hell are you doing? You're not gonna make this movie, this is just a pipe dream." You need to surround yourself with people who believe.

Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling in "La La Land" - photo courtesy of Lionsgate Movies

RYAN GOSLING – plays Sebastian Wilder in ”La La Land”

Ryan Gosling on preparing for the role of Sebastian:
I had taken some tap dancing lessons, but this was very different from what I had thought I had learned. But we had wonderful coaches and choreographers, so talented, and in all respects they helped design things for us that were best suited for us. It wasn't ever like, here's a routine, you have to learn that. For us, our main objective was to create a consistency of character, so it wasn't like they suddenly became different people when they started singing or dancing, but you felt like it was the same people that you'd just been watching in the scene before, and maybe these things could add a different dimension to these characters. Through this three-month rehearsal period, we were always trying to find a way to still communicate our characters and the story, so things were always changing, and they were able to help us design the routines to facilitate that.

Ryan Gosling on bringing his own input to the character:
Well. I brought about ten years. (chuckle) Well, he was just a lot younger, the character.* Initially, he was more sort of wide-eyed, optimistic, hopeful about his ability to save jazz. When I came on board, it felt like it wouldn't really feel natural for someone my age to feel my age. I would have had to be doing this for a while, and if I wasn't successfull at this point, it meant that I would have experienced a lot of failure up until that point. So the chracter became someone who was really down and out, on the verge of becoming a very bitter and cynical person. And then the finger of fate steps in and points him in the direction of this young woman who keeps him from becoming the worst version of himself. So that changed. But yeah, Damien had been planning this for such a long time, and he had this movie planned shot-for-shot in his brain, but at the same time he was able to, and willing to, reinvent these characters on the spot so that they best suited the actors. Then he asked us to improvise a lot, for instance [SPOILER ALERT] in that fight scene in the middle of the movie where they break up, he asked us to improvise that. He encouraged us to bring a lot of ourselves to the film.
*Editor's note: Damien Chazelle originally considered Miles Teller and Emma Watson for the roles of Sebastian and Mia.

Ryan Gosling on his favourite film musicals:
I really like "An American in Paris". It's very experimental, and yet it doesn't feel experimental or pretentious in some way, because it is so accessible, and the music is so beautiful. It's just a lot of great visual ideas. That's also what was interesting about making this film, in a musical you can dance in the stars, and it makes sense in that universe. Because it's all about expressing the way these characters feel, and you're only limited to what you can imagine in that case. I also really like "Top Hat". I thought Fred [Astaire] and Ginger [Rogers] were just wonderful in that. I like Fred's style, he's very mischievous. I always heard him talk about it like he was the gentleman, and Gene Kelly was like the bruiser, but Fred was very aggressive. He'd jump up on the bar and start breaking glasses while he was tap-dancing and kicking over bottles and using it to mess with people, so he was an exciting dancer.

EMMA STONE – plays Mia Dolan in ”La La Land”

Emma Stone on her chemistry with third-time co-star Ryan Gosling:
We were asked to improvise at our very first audition together. We met at the audition for ”Crazy, Stupid, Love.”, and I think that was instantly the rapport that we formed in improvising with each other. I guess there was just a comfort level there that we have that ability, and I feel I know him well enough as an actor to understand how we can push each other. I dont always think improv is the best solution. For this, we rehearsed with Damien for so long, and he wrote down a lot of what we had talked about and put it into the dialogue. He gave us freedom to explore things and play around and add in things that felt natural. It was a huge priority to Damien and Ryan and I that these people, even though we are in this extraordinary world, should feel very grounded and real.

Emma Stone on performing the ”Audition” song live on camera:
That song itself is so beautifully written, the lyrics are so wonderful. I thought it was such a great depiction of what it feels like to be an artist or a dreamer, and how foolish and messy you can feel in trying to make your dreams a reality. So I was excited and terrified to sing it because I knew that day was on the schedule and was coming. At first they had said, "We'll prerecord the song in the studio and do the scene [as playback]". And crazy as I am, although Damien might have felt this way, I very vividly remember my madness coming up and saying, "No, it has to be live. It's a monologue. It's a song, but it's a monologue." If I was lipsyncing that song, it would not make sense performance-wise. So even though I miss the tune a couple of times, a little flat or sharp in moments, I think it was important that it was live. So we did nine takes. It was like a bunch of people in the room splitting the desk and hiding the actors and doing the lighting change, and Ari [Robbins], our incredible Steadicam operator who operated most of the movie – the reason the movie moves like that is because of this one guy, Ari, who was holding a Steadicam for the whole movie and just doing these incredible oners with us. So he was there, you know, spun around and came back and they put the desk back together, and that was that. It was such a testament to the crew, because they hit the desk like once, and we had to start over. But only once. Otherwise it was so seamless. It was a really special day, but it was definitely my scariest one just in terms of the buildup to it.

Emma Stone on having embarrassing habits:
It is embarrassing how much I sing ”La La Land” songs in the shower. It was weird because yesterday when I was getting ready for the premiere with all the people that I get ready with, I was singing ”City of Stars” in the bathroom, like REALLY singing. They could just hear me in the other room, singing the songs from ”La La Land”, and then I felt pretty embarrassed. Singing your own songs is a little strange. Not that they are my songs. And I still sing songs from ”Cabaret” all the time.* ”Enough. Allright. We get it.”
*Editor's note: Stone played Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes' production of "Cabaret" on Broadway in 2014.

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