“La La Land” writer-director Damien Chazelle admits that he’s got a serious romance going with jazz.
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As with Chazelle’s two previous films, “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” and “Whiplash,” “La La Land” is also centered on the music genre — and for good reason.
“I love jazz and I grew up playing jazz drums, so it’s always been the music I’ve felt most connected to,” he said Monday at a party at the Chateau Marmont, following screenings of the film at the Harmony Gold and the Arclight Hollywood. The event was sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon.
Chazelle credits his father Bernard with instilling him with a love for jazz.
“He was a jazz obsessive and made sure that I listened to it,” he added. “I have such respect for jazz musicians.”
Chazelle admits he used to be fairly accomplished at playing the drums but ran out of time as he became a filmmaker.
“The sad truth is that I used to to be good,” he mused. “I had a moment where I was good but now I have a drumset in the garage and it’s been collecting dust. Whenever I play, the neighbors complain. It’s just a vicious cycle because I can’t be bothered to find a space so I’m no good anymore.”
The musical comedy-drama stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist while Emma Stone plays a struggling actress. Lionsgate launches “La La Land” on Dec. 9.
The Harmony Gold screening was hosted by Bradley Cooper, who starred with Stone in last year’s “Aloha.” “I have a feeling that 10 years from now you’ll be telling your friends that you were at one of the early Chazelle screenings because he is the next great director,” Cooper said in his intro.