Exclusive: BWW Interviews LA LA LAND Creative Team Damien Chazelle, Justin Hurwitz, and Jordan Horowitz
Kicking off a weeklong Los Angeles La La Land extravaganza leading up to the film's DVD release, citizens of LA gathered to see Director Damien Chazelle, Composer Justin Hurwitz, and Producer Jordan Horowitz honored on the steps of city hall by Mayor Garcetti for the work that they put into representing the city. After seeing dancers on wires gracefully float atop the exterior of city hall to 'Another Day of Sun' and 'Someone in the Crowd' and Mayor Garcetti playing 'City of Stars' on the piano, BWW correspondent, Maeve Riley, had the chance to catch up with La La Land's creative team.
What were some of the Golden Age films that influenced the making of the film?
Damien Chazelle: Definitely any of the Vincente Minelli or Stanley Donen musicals. Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain, It's Always Fair Weather, films like that. Also the Jacques Demy movies of the sixties, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Douglas Sirk movies. Any of those technicolor movies, for sure.
What does it mean to see La La Land's music celebrated throughout Los Angeles?
Justin Hurwitz: It's very cool and flattering. We wanted to make a movie that honored the city in a lot of ways. To have it come the other way, and to have the city embrace the movie like this is amazing.
How has music shaped your own life, and how has this score shaped your life as a musician?
Justin Hurwitz: Music has been a big part of my life for a long time. I started playing piano when I was six, and started composing when I was ten. So, it's been a part of my life for almost all of my life. This score- it was very personal to me. I was composing music that felt very personal, and it was really fun to get to express a lot of things musically along with the movie. I just feel like I'm trying to always get better and learn with every movie and learn with every job, I feel like I took a lot of steps on this movie. I hope to keep becoming a better composer and a better orchestrator, but this movie was a lot of hard work. I'm very proud of the work I did on it, and I just hope to keep improving as an artist.
How was the music in this film used to characterize the imagery and uplift the characters?
Damien Chazelle: I guess it's all about trying to use the music to actually communicate things that words can't. I tried to, whenever possible, let the music and the imagery do the heavy lifting. I just like that idea of pure cinema where you get to indulge in that sort of filmmaking where it's not about words, it's about the things you can't really describe in words. It was about making those moments part of the story so they weren't a separate thing.
What was that defining factor that made you want to pursue this project?
Jordan Horowitz: It was Damien. One of the other producers Fred Berger and I sat down at a coffee shop, and he just had such a clear eye and vision for what he wanted this picture to be. It was infectious. I came from New York Theater, and Fred came from New York to do movies here. In New York, the vibe is set to push the envelope and to try to do people's passion projects. La La Land was just one of those moments when I said, "Yeah. This is something that we're going to spend some time on and try to figure out how to get made."
Even though it was insanely ambitious and people didn't take us seriously for a little while, eventually they did.
Winner of 6 Academy Awards® including Best Director for writer/director Damien Chazelle, and winner of a record-breaking 7 Golden Globe® Awards, LA LA LAND is more than the most acclaimed movie of the year - it's a cinematic treasure for the ages that you'll fall in love with again and again. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star as Mia and Sebastian, an actress and a jazz musician pursuing their Hollywood dreams - and finding each other - in a vibrant celebration of hope, dreams, and love.