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Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017: La La Land Stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are the Perfect Team

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017: La La Land Stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are the Perfect Team

Acting

Stone on the La La Land for Version of Their Relationship

“Damien had said early on, because Ryan and I had worked together before and people had seen us together before, that he wanted it to be a different version of our kind of rapport than people had seen before, and we consciously developed that. Obviously we were older than we were in the other films that we had done. In developing these characters, we also had the opportunity, as Ryan said, to improvise with Damien and build these people in a way that was very collaborative.”

Stone on Not Having a Backup Plan at 15

“I don’t think at 15 I did, which is kind of the benefit of being 15—you have that single focus. At that age, I was able to say, well, if in a couple of years this doesn’t work out, I can keep doing home-schooling, or maybe I can go to college, or find other things I love—but that wasn’t really clear. I didn’t know what else I would ever want to do, and I still don’t, so far. The things that I love have expanded, and there are things that I am interested in, in a big way, outside of acting, but it’s still just the best job I can imagine, and I truly love it, even when it’s infuriating, like, for instance, when I’m working with Ryan [laughs].”

Gosling on Transitioning from a Child Performer into 2001 feature The Believer 

“I have to thank Henry Bean, the writer and director of that film, because that specific role was a role that everybody I knew back in the day wanted. I couldn’t get in to see them, and rightfully so, because the director was like, ‘I don’t see a guy from the Mickey Mouse club playing a Jewish Nazi.’ Hard to argue with that. But I really just felt strongly about it, and I talked my way into the lunch hour, and that director was just crazy enough to believe in me. He really gift-wrapped me a career. It was hard for me to get into any room before that, and after that it was easier, so I really owe him for that. As much as auditioning is hard, and you face a lot of personal rejection—it’s not what you did, it’s you, I don’t like it—it’s just nothing compared to what so many people deal with, in terms of real struggles in their lives, and how hard it is to just make it. It’s such a privilege to be an actor, because it’s such a great job, and they’re just movies at the end of the day.”

Gosling on Why He Started His Career in Independent Film

“That was a strategic move because it was very hard to break into mainstream films. It was very hard for me to get a auditions or be seen as someone that could be in those films. There was just more opportunity in the independent world to get an actual role that could challenge you. At the time, when I was doing it, it was a serious phase in independent film where everything was kind of intense.”

Gosling on Treating Drive Like a Silent Film

“We tried to treat it almost like a silent film and that was an interesting exercise. I love silent films, but it’s obviously something that’s very hard to make now. It was great to work with a filmmaker who, of course, had to be Danish to be into that idea. We striped out the dialogue and tried to see if we could play it silent and see how much you can communicate without it. That was a great experience.”

Stone in Birdman (2015). Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Stone on Working with Alejandro Iñarritu

“[Birdman] was an interesting entire concept. Everything was much bigger. Everything was in one shot, and Alejandro would stop if he wasn’t getting what he wanted. In the middle of a scene you’d just hear, ‘Nooooo!’ from the other room. He’d say, ‘Bigger! More! Give me more!’ It was a really fascinating thing, unlike anything I’d made before or anything I’ve made since that. His level of passion, closeness to the monitor and interaction in the scene was incredible. It was really a great training ground for a something like La La Land, because it was so technically precise and you still had to feel free within these scenes.” MM

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