“I thought the ship had sailed. I wouldn’t get a chance to make an old-fashioned musical, but when the opportunity came up, it was too much of an opportunity to pass up,” admits Ryan Gosling about taking a lead role in the new musical film “La La Land.” In our interview (watch above), he also discusses working with Emma Stone: “We improvised a lot, and that connects you in a way that just saying dialogue doesn’t.”
The modern day movie directed by Damien Chazelle is set in Los Angeles and stars Gosling as a struggling jazz pianist and Stone as a constantly-auditioning actress. The two of them meet, but it’s definitely not love at first sight. For their roles, both actors have been nominated at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics’ Choice Awards over the past few weeks.
In preparation for the film, Gosling had months of learning the dance moves and how to convincingly play the piano. Of that effort he says, “This character is a very talented piano player. I was required to play a lot of very challenging pieces, and I really didn’t play very much piano before this. That was a challenge because the director wanted to shoot those scenes in one shot, so there was no real room to make mistakes.”
Gosling is a previous Oscar nominee for his lead role in “Half Nelson” (2006). He also had prior Globe noms for “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007), “Blue Valentine” (2010), “Crazy Stupid Love” (2011), and “The Ides of March” (2011). He has received SAG nominations for “Half Nelson,” “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007), and “The Big Short” (2015 ensemble).
One of his featured songs in “La La Land” is “City of Stars,” which recently won at the Critics’ Choice Awards and is nominated at the Golden Globes. Watch our interview above to find out if Gosling would be willing to sing the tune on the Oscar stage if nominated there.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think “La La Land” will do with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.