Although he considers himself a jazz purist, hoping to open his own club, the financially down & out Sebastian [Ryan Gosling] faces the reality that he can make a lot more money touring with a popular band...
Congratulations all around for the expanse of "Best of" Academy Award nominations, especially to the brilliant team of Production Designer David Wasco and Set Decorator Sandy Reynolds-Wasco SDSA, and to Writer/Director Damien Chazelle for this vibrant, compelling film experience!
Kudos to Lionsgate for taking a chance with an update of the musical that kept true to the sparkling look and dynamism of the genre...
LA LA LAND is not only a human love story. It’s also an ode to the city of Los Angeles and its never-ending cycles of artistic risks that lead to heartbreak that lead to more artistic risks. So it was that the ambitious production canvassed the breadth of the city in its 40-day production.
Cast and crew made stops at such legendary locations as the Griffith Park Observatory, as well as hidden gems including Hermosa Beach’s historic Lighthouse Café, a jazz club since 1949. All of it was overseen by the team of Production Designer David Wasco and Set Decorator Sandy Reynolds-Wasco SDSA, whose extraordinary list of films includes such high-style pieces as RESERVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION, RUSHMORE, THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2, COLLATERAL and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.
In keeping with the tone of the film, the locations shift between of the moment and remnants of bygone eras. “That quality is already indigenous to the city,” notes David Wasco. “You can look in one direction and feel you're in 1940s Hollywood, and then turn your head and you’re in 2016...”
The chance to use the legendary locations was a thrill for all – but the Wascos went beyond that, using not only the real exteriors re-creating the planetarium’s interior as an Art Deco fantasia for the dance number in which Sebastian and Mia waltz through the dioramas.
Throughout the film, the Wascos referenced films cinephiles may recognize, but they also cite the influences of such painters as Ed Ruscha and David Hockney, who explored the mythologies of Los Angeles, and the French Fauvist painter, Raoul Dufy, known for his ecstatic washes of color.
The sets become even more inventive towards the climax of the film, especially in the number known as Epilogue. Wasco explains, “Director Damien Chazelle wanted to go into this extremely heightened fantasy world of LA and Paris on a studio backlot, which we created with painted backdrops so that the look is very, very theatrical.”
L.A. might be the city where many movies get their start, but it can be a tough nut to crack cinematically.
Chazelle was thrilled to see the city imbued with new perspective. As Sandy Reynolds-Wasco notes, “LA is a perfect film character because it’s full of both optimism and broken dreams...”