Ryan Gosling was pushed to his limits on La La Land. The 36-year-old actor had fun working on the musical with Emma Stone, but admitted learning his lines, songs, dance routines, jazz piano and the keytar was a lot to take in.
He said: “Trying to fit the keytar into my schedule of things I had to learn was pretty funny. But we were all being pushed to our limits to see what we were capable of. We worked for three months on, for instance, one number that happens at sunset where it starts as a scene, then it becomes a song, and then it’s a dance and then it’s a scene again and it all happens in one take.”
The scene was a homage to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ ‘Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain)’ routine from ‘Top Hat’, and Ryan loved getting the chance to put a new spin on the iconic footage.
He said: “That idea, just the clever nuance of the way Fred and Ginger’s characters were trying to make the best of a bad situation, we tried to subvert that lyrically in our scene. We tried to make the worst out of a good situation.”
Director Damien Chazelle was keen for the film to still be relatable, despite having a format so out-of-step with everyday life.
Ryan told Empire magazine: “The trickiest part as not to have these characters suddenly become different people because they were singing… One way we did that was to introduce comedy so we could have a rat-a-tat rhythm to the scenes and dialogue, so it didn’t feel too naturalistic. And we tried to find a way in the songs to keep the characters as flawed as they were in the scenes you’ve just seen them in, so often we sang live or tried to incorporate our limitations as dancers into the choreography.”