You probably already know that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are starring alongside each other in La La Land, director Damien Chazelle's homage to classic movie-musicals. If you've already watched trailers, you'll notice how supremely comfortable the pair seem around each other and what a natural fit they make. It takes a moment to remember that they're not actually a couple, they seem so well-suited. This is no accident. The new La La Land behind the scenes featurette shines some light on why Gosling and Stone are so good together.
Chazelle gave some insight into why he cast his two stars:
“When we were casting up the movie, part of the appeal to me was that [when you see] Ryan and Emma, [you know] they are going to be a couple. You can see them and imagine them together. It was like a Fred and Ginger or Bogart and Bacall — a classic Hollywood screen couple.”
Producer Marc Platt agreed with Chazelle: "You have two characters who have an onscreen chemistry that I think is one for the ages." I feel the above commentary makes two strong arguments for exactly why Gosling and Stone fit so effortlessly together.
Firstly, the pair are impressively equally matched in terms of their careers. The two actors have both done romantic roles before (Gosling: The Notebook, Stone: Easy A), have even worked together on a romantic comedy in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and they've both worked on films that have won Oscars (Gosling: The Big Short, Stone: Birdman). In short, we know they're every bit each other's equal in talent in real life. And we're bringing these assumptions about them to the cinema with us, so we can imagine them being equally matched in intellect and creativity on screen too, especially since their movie counterparts have equally creative roles. Stone plays aspiring actor Mia while Gosling's character, Sebastian, is a struggling jazz musician.
Let's face it: attraction isn't just physical, it's emotional.
Secondly, the "Fred and Ginger or Bogart and Bacall" comparison holds up. Because of the sheer number of incredibly movies this pair have under their belts, they're less actors and more icons. Who can forget Gosling in The Notebook? Or rocking that white jacket in Drive? Similarly, it's hard to think of Stone without thinking of her performance as Gwen Stacey in The Amazing Spider-Man films or as Eugenia in The Help. As such, they're perfect for this retro movie, which, according to Variety's review, recalls the old MGM musicals. Just as in those old films, this film, too, rests on the star power of its two leads.
So, no wonder Gosling and Stone are so great together. With their natural chemistry, equal footing, and similar cinematic backgrounds, they're every bit as well-thought out a pairing as the ice cream hued palette of the visuals or the intricate choreography.
Images: Summit Entertainment