Ryan Gosling talks about his romance with ‘La La Land’ | Inquirer Entertainment
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Ryan Gosling talks about his romance with ‘La La Land’

By: - Columnist
/ 12:44 AM January 01, 2017

Ryan Gosling            photo by Ruben V. Nepales

Ryan Gosling photo by Ruben V. Nepales

LOS ANGELES—Happy New Year! May 2017 bring us excellent entertainment, from films to TV shows. Our subject is Ryan Gosling, who capped off 2016 with the wonderful “La La Land” and will be seen in Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049,” one of 2017’s most awaited movies, and Terrence Malick’s “Weightless.”

In this interview, we talk to the Canada-born Ryan about Los Angeles, aka La La Land, which he now considers home. The city is the setting of Damien Chazelle’s romantic musical, “La La Land,” which is absolutely one of 2016’s best films. Ryan, as a jazz pianist named Sebastian, and Emma Stone, an aspiring actress (Mia), boost the film with their chemistry, presence and singing and dancing talents.


Excerpts from our talk:


For you, where are the most romantic places in Los Angeles? We shot in a lot of them. I’ve always wanted to ride on Angels Flight (world’s shortest funicular, located in downtown LA). I used to live around the corner from Angels Flight, which is right across the Grand Central Market. Angels Flight has been closed down for a long time. We were lucky that they opened it up for us and got to shoot there for this film.

There are many other wonderful romantic places in Los Angeles. Watts Towers, for instance, we got to shoot at, as well. We got to sneak a lot of these places in this film.


Where did you live when you moved to LA the first time? I was very lucky that I had worked as a kid with a director named Ron Oliver. He was very kind to let me sleep on his couch when I first moved to Los Angeles until I got on my feet.

Is LA home to you now? I’ve lived in Los Angeles longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, so it certainly is home. I’ll always feel Canadian. I’ll always apologize for no reason. I don’t think I can break that Canadian part of me. But Los Angeles is an incredibly cinematic place. The more I live in LA, it keeps revealing itself.

I’m lucky to have a job where I can explore the new versions of Los Angeles that I find as time goes on.

What do or don’t you like about LA? A lot of people have a dream for their life, and their destination is Los Angeles to make that a reality. Those people don’t know if it’s a premonition or delusion. So, you run into a lot of those people in the city. It’s a nice thing to be around. There’s an energy to it that’s very special.

How do you choose projects? Were you specifically looking for a musical? The way I engage with the film is through the screenplay. It’s whether I find the story compelling and if I have an emotional connection to the character. One of the strengths of this film is that, although it’s a musical, it’s really about these two people and their relationship.

I felt it was very accessible in that way, because even if you didn’t like musicals, you could still connect to this film through that relationship. So that made it special to me. It made it more than just a musical. It’s a compelling story about these two people.

Do you break into song and dance spontaneously? I’m taking medication for that. So, I’ve got that under control now.

Do you sing in the shower or in the car? Are you the type who dances at the sight of a beautiful sunset? I don’t dance at the sunset. I’ve never done that, but I’m not ruling it out. My father was a musician. My uncle was an Elvis impersonator. My sister pursued, and loves, musical theater. Through osmosis, I gained an appreciation for music through her. I play a few instruments. Music is a part of my life. Always has been.

When did you actually start playing the piano? Piano playing was just something I dabbled with. I never had a piano. I’d try and learn starting when I was around 1. I’ve always wanted to play the piano. Certainly jazz piano is not something I ever played before, or thought that I could play. So, I embraced this opportunity, because it was a chance to just focus for three months and work with a great tutor and play beautiful music.

(Spoiler alert)

Do you like the film’s ending? If this was made in the ’40s and ’50s, your and Emma’s characters would be together in the end. Well, “Casablanca” didn’t end that way. I think our film has a hell of an ending. I like it when a film has a great ending. Damien (Chazelle) has a real talent for that.

(End spoiler alert)

Your performance in this film reminds us of Gene Kelly. Wow. We had the great opportunity to meet Gene Kelly’s widow before we started this film. We had dinner with her. She showed us a lot of Gene’s personal things. He had every script that he’d ever done leather-bound.

I got to see the leather-bound script of “Singin’ in the Rain.” I went to the scene of the title number. Gene had handwritten on the margin, “Hand umbrella to a passerby as you’re leaving.” It was inspiring to see that. Because you remember that even though it’s such an iconic film, it started with all those ideas—in this case, Gene just writing little notes on the margins of his script.

Was it a big challenge for you to do that dance scene with Emma? Yeah, my only previous experience with dance was ’90s hip-hop, so that’s different from traditional tap. We had very patient tutors. A wonderful choreographer, Mandy Moore, who works on that television show, “Dancing with the Stars.” So she’s very used to finding the diamond in the rough. The tutors were very patient with Emma and me. I don’t know how we would have done it without them, honestly.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working? I spend time with my family (actress Eva Mendes and their two daughters). I have two little girls now. It’s chaos, but I love it.

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You are outnumbered by females. What have you learned? I’m still learning, but it’s heaven! They’re angels. They really are.

TAGS: Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve, Emma Stone, Entertainment, Hollywood, La La Land, Movies, Ryan Gosling, Terrence Malick

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