Director Damien Chazelle had his big breakthrough a couple of years ago when Whiplash received widespread praise and several awards and nominations (most of which, were for J.K. Simmons' electrifying performance). For his next film, La La Land, Chazelle is once again returning to the world of music, but in a far different way. Instead of a psychological drama about the pursuit of greatness, La La Land is a heartfelt ode to the Hollywood musical, starring Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a jazz pianist who falls for Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
Lionsgate got the ball rolling on promotion in July with a teaser trailer set to the original song "City of Stars," which was sung by Gosling. It was very well-received and got viewers excited about what Chazelle has in store. Now, the studio has released another preview (watch it above), which gives Stone a chance to show off her singing talents with the bittersweet tune "Audition."
This new trailer is very similar in structure to the "City of Stars" one, showing footage from the film as the song plays over it (like before, no dialogue is heard). The teaser does an excellent job of reaffirming the tone and atmosphere that was introduced in the first trailer, suggesting that the story may be hopeful, yet somber, in nature. Certain lines in the "Audition" track, such as "Here's to the ones who dream; foolish as they may seem" imply that not everything will go as planned for the characters and echo the closing lyrics of Gosling's song ("Is this the start of something wonderful and new, or one more dream that I cannot make true?"). Some of the shots shown here also hint that La La Land will break a few hearts along the way.
You can check out artwork for the La La Land vinyl release (highlighting the "Audition" tune), below:
In the early days of awards season prognosticating, La La Land has been pegged as one of the favorites, and it's easy to see why. Not only has Chazelle proven capable of helming a Best Picture contender, the Academy has long had a soft spot for musicals. In 2012, Les Misérables received eight Oscar nods and won three, including Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress. Considering La La Land lives up to its on-paper potential, it should be a shoo-in for some nominations, particularly in the Original Song category.
The film industry is no stranger to one-hit wonders, but it looks like the talent Chazelle showed in Whiplash was no fluke. He seems to have delivered a great contemporary spin on a classic genre, and the pairing of Gosling and Stone should lead to terrific results. Those two leads have acted together before in Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad, displaying excellent chemistry with one another. All the pieces are in place for a memorable way to close out the year.
La La Land opens in U.S. theaters in limited release on December 2, 2016. It expands wide December 16, 2016.