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Ryan Gosling Croons To Emma Stone In New 'La La Land' Trailer

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Ryan Gosling sings a melancholy tune in a minor key for Emma Stone in the new trailer for the forthcoming musical La La Land about a jazz musician and an actress just trying to make it in this crazy town. Gosling sings, "City of stars, are you shining just for me?/ City of stars, there's so much that I can see."

The film is a rare bird in modern-day Hollywood: a wholly original musical. But director Damien Chazelle, who directed the Sundance hit Whiplash, said he was inspired by the Gingers Rogers and Fred Astaire musicals of yore. He told Entertainment Weekly that he used one of their dances in Top Hat as a specific reference point. Justin Hurwitz, who wrote the music for Whiplash (2014) as well Chazelle's debut musical Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), wrote the original songs.

The film also wrestles with a very familiar Angeleno theme: a love story set against the backdrop of trying to make it big. Though 'La La Land' is Angelenos' least favorite nickname for their city, Chazelle sees the film as a love letter to Los Angeles. He told Entertainment Weekly:

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"There’s an incredible romanticism in L.A. that you don’t always see when you’re stuck in traffic on the 405. I wanted to make a big love letter to the city and focus on that push and pull that all young artists experience, between dreams and reality, which old Hollywood musicals are so good at expressing. I just love the idea of a whole emotional arc told purely visually and musically. And it’s a city that’s so filled with dreamers, most of whom won’t make it. I think there’s something poetic about that."

The trailer, drenched in deep jazzy reds and blues, shows the pair longingly staring at one another, kissing and somehow literally waltzing among the stars. It does feel like the kind of gauzy romance that usually would have been set against New York or Paris or Rome, but Chazelle wants to change that. Like us, he's a big fan of the 2003 documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself that wrestles with the fascinating ways the city is portrayed on film. He told Entertainment Weekly:

"L.A. is weirdly the most filmed city in the world because the movie industry has been there forever, but it’s one of the least physical cities in movies. It doesn’t have a specific place in cinema the way that New York or Paris does. Which is why everyone has their own idea of L.A., and many are not the most pleasant ideas. But if treated the right way, L.A. can definitely hold its own as a romantic playground."

Gosling and Stone have previous experience as romantic co-stars and even as dance partners in Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011). J.K. Simmons will also be returning to work with Chazelle after Whiplash, and John Legend will have a role, too. The film is set to premiere in December.