“La La Land” is one of the most lauded films of the year, landing 14 Oscar nods, tying a record previously set by “All About Eve” (1951) and “Titanic” (1998). The musical boasts a number of dazzling song-and-dance scenes, and now filmmaker Damien Chazelle has shared some never-before-seen footage of the rehearsal of the opening number, which took place on a highway ramp full of cars. Oh, and it was all shot on his iPhone.
The rehearsals for “Another Day of Sun” took place on in a Los Angeles parking lot and Chazelle captured everything with his smart phone. The video features an insert where you can see how it compares with the final scene.
Chazelle and choreographer Mandy Moore began planning for the scene and “walking it through, talking it out and diagramming it out. The dance and the camera work — it was sort of a chicken-and-egg problem; they had to be formulated at the same time,” the director told USA Today.
According to Chazelle, the video shot on his phone “became sort of our bible.” However, the dress rehearsal on the actual freeway where the scene were to be shot was a total disaster.
“We were able to secure the highway location for half a day a few weeks before shooting,” he said. “We all went in feeling pretty confident because we were quite happy with how the iPhone (footage) had worked out. And the dress rehearsal was a total disaster. The crane could not move the way an iPhone moves…The choreography looked different, the slant of the freeway created a lot of other challenges. Everything was just tricky. We had to go back and regroup and make some adjustments.”
Fortunately, when the crew went back a couple of weeks later for the real shooting of the scene, this time with stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone among them, it all worked out. “We went back to the location, a little chastened, a little humbled and a little nervous,” said Chazelle. “And then we shot the real thing, which you see in the movie.”
Watch the rehearsal video of the opening scene from “La La Land” below.