Damien Chazelle (Courtesy: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for AFI)
By: Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
“People want something that’s different than everything else that’s out there,” says Damien Chazelle, the writer and director of the massively acclaimed original musical La La Land, as we sit down at The Hollywood Reporter to record an episode of the ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast and try to get to the root of the phenomenal success of the film. Indeed, Chazelle’s bold third feature is beloved by critics (it has a 93% favorable rating on RottenTomatoes.com), audiences (it has grossed more than $340 million worldwide) and Academy members (it has been nominated for a record-tying 14 Oscars). The 32-year-old himself is Oscar-nominated for best director and best original screenplay, and if he wins the former, as is widely expected, he will break an 85-year-old record and become the category’s youngest winner ever.
“It was very much a projection of confidence,” Chazelle says of how he pitched his dream movie project to financiers, studios and movie stars like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone over the seven years he spent trying to get it made. “I was not exactly feeling confident inside at any given moment. I think what I would always fall back on, when in doubt, was, ‘Well, this is the movie I want to see,’ because that’s all I can really know and that’s all that really should matter because I can’t guess what anyone else is gonna want to see. I just have to make what I want to see, be true to that and then hope that I’m not alone in the world.”
(Click below to listen to this episode or here to access all of our 130+ episodes via iTunes. Past guests include Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Eddie Murphy, Lady Gaga, Robert De Niro, Amy Schumer, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Louis C.K., Kristen Stewart, Harvey Weinstein, Sally Field, Jerry Seinfeld, Jane Fonda, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kate Winslet, Michael Moore, Helen Mirren, J.J. Abrams, Taraji P. Henson, Warren Beatty, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Eisner, Brie Larson, Sting, Natalie Portman, RuPaul, Sheila Nevins, Justin Timberlake, Lily Collins, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Chastain, Tracy Morgan, Alicia Vikander, James Corden, Lily Tomlin, Eddie Redmayne, Sarah Silverman, Michael Keaton, Charlotte Rampling, Tyler Perry, Isabelle Huppert, Vince Vaughn, Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, Emma Stone and Denzel Washington.)
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