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Miles Teller & Emma Watson Join 'La La Land' for 'Whiplash' Helmer

by
June 5, 2014
Source: The Wrap

Miles Teller / Emma Watson

Director Damien Chazelle delivered an incredible indie drama in the form of Whiplash at Sundance, the film that follows Miles Teller as an aspiring drummer at a strict music school who is rattled and tortured by his drill instructor of a conductor, played amazing by J.K. Simmons. Now Teller is set to reteam with Chazelle for another musical project called La La Land, and Harry Potter star Emma Watson is in talks for the female lead. Unlike Whiplash though, this is a straight-up musical about aspiring actress Mia, who's lonely desperate to fit in, and cocky yet charismatic jazz pianist Sebastian — who fall in love in Los Angeles.

Teller and Watson will take those two lead roles as the two lovers brought together by the City of Angels, though it might end up breaking them apart as they soon discover that balancing love and art in such a cutthroat climate isn't easy. The Wrap got ahold of what is called a "lookbook" for the film which better explains the director's vision, the characters, their story and the overall tone of the film. Here's what Chazelle said in the document:

“I'd like to make a contemporary musical about L.A., starting with the L.A. we know but slowly building to a vision of the city as romantic metropolis–one that is actually worthy of the dreams it inspires. I'd like to make a musical about the way L.A.'s peculiar rhythms can push its residents to the edge of their emotions–be they hope, desperation or love. Think the kind of teetering-toward-madness you see in “The Graduate” or “Boogie Nights”, and imagine if you were to push that further. In this case, the city pushes its residents all the way: it pushes them into song.

The characters of this movie are just people trying to make it. One thing most movies about struggling L.A. actors and musicians miss is the poetry of their struggle: these are blue-collar folks working day in and day out to make something happen. What I'm interested in is pitting their yearnings and their ambitions against the musical genre. After all, musicals are all about the push-and-pull between reality and fantasy; the heroes of this film, because of their big dreams, are constantly poised on that edge. 

At its core, this is a movie about artists in love–and what it means to be an artist in love in arguably the most competitive city on the planet. How do you juggle the need to find success as an artist with the need to share oneself with another human being? And how do you do so in a place where every poster, every street corner and every sign remind you of the glories just beyond reach? L.A. is the “Dream Factory”, and to me there's something swooningly romantic about that: all those unsung songs and unrealized ideas clouding the air. By casting an affectionate eye on a pair of young hopefuls, while aspiring to the kind of full-fledged romanticism you hardly ever see in today's movies, I hope to capture the spirit of the city I now call home, and make a movie that feels both classical and urgent–and, yes, intrinsically L.A.”

Whiplash won U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, and Chazelle has a bright future if he can make a musical that is just as compelling as his indie hit. Teller has been on the rise over the past couple years, and he's only getting bigger with roles in Fantastic Four and the rest of the Divergent franchise on the way. And Watson has proven she has plenty of staying power beyond the Harry Potter franchise. Production is supposed to begin on La La Land in February of 2015, and we hope both Teller and Watson will be on board the film at that point. Sound good?

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