With the 89th annual Academy Awards just around the corner, all eyes are on La La Land to see if the lauded musical will secure its predicted sweep. Both a critical favorite and box office smash, the film was building Oscar buzz long before it hit theaters, but similarly acclaimed titles like Manchester By the Sea and Fences have since emerged as worthy adversaries.
From the start, the project was hailed for its dazzling score, standout performances, and heart-tugging premise. It stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as Mia and Sebastian, an aspiring actress and struggling jazz musician who spark up a whirlwind romance in L.A. as they try to navigate their hyper-competitive careers. Whether you think of it more as an ode to Los Angeles or a touching exploration of Mia and Sebastian’s relationship, La La Land is a love story at its core. But what if the musical darling had taken a darker, more sinister turn?
That’s what a new video from Cinefix imagines, re-cutting the movie’s trailer as a David Lynch (Eraserhead, Lost Highway) psychodrama. Armed with shadowy lighting, freaky sound effects, and a newly somber, minor-key soundtrack, the clip casts Gosling as an obsessive stalker. It plays upon the once-charming way Mia and Sebastian kept innocuously running into each other, making it seem due to Sebastian’s demented scheming instead of fate. It also riffs on the title — a cheeky reference to Los Angeles and the idiom for being out of touch with reality — pairing phrases like, “In a town where nothing is real,” and, “Love is a dream,” with an ominous, “nothing is what it seems.”
Oddly enough, the trailer seems eerily in line with Lynch’s other projects. He is best known for his surrealism, and the opening scenes of Mulholland Drive similarly focus on an aspiring L.A. actress. It’s actually not that tough to imagine the thriller version of La La Land ending up in his filmography. Think about it: Young, hopeful girl arrives in Los Angeles to chase her dreams, girl meets handsome pianist and falls in love, girl returns home, boy embarks on a feverish road trip to get her back, girl discovers boy is a psychopath.
The trailer itself was obviously intended as a joke, but props to Cinefix for putting it together so convincingly. Maybe their parody actually has potential? Probably not, but it makes for an entertaining watch nonetheless.
The Oscars will be televised Sunday, February 26 on ABC.