Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are the ultimate onscreen couple—their recent turn in Damien Chazelle’s musical dramedy, La La Land, marks the pair’s third time starring as love interests. Though the two high-caliber actors are used to working together, they didn’t feel incredibly comfortable when they started on their latest film. Stone, Gosling, and director Chazelle sat down with InStyle at the Toronto International Film Festival to discuss their early concerns during the shooting process.
Gosling admitted that he worried about how La La Land’s characters would transition between musical numbers and dramatic scenes. “I think what worried me the most was just losing track of the characters… that they’d somehow feel like different people because they were singing, and then go to back to being who they were in the scenes,” Gosling said.
Stone’s concerns were based on her understanding of the film’s tone. “I think at the beginning, I was really trying to nail down exactly what the tone was going to be,” Stone said, “and I couldn’t fully understand what was going to be anamorphic and what was going to feel a bit more grounded and realistic.”
The musical nature of the film presented difficulty for both the actors and the director. Chazelle explained, “Musicals are a hard sell for today’s audiences—that kind of full-fledged idea of people breaking into song because their emotions inspire them to… The challenge of this movie was to try to make that feel accessible and relevant.”
Chazelle went on to praise La La Land’s talented leads: “I think Emma and Ryan were the perfect actors for the roles. I think it’s their emotions and their behavior that really just carries an audience through the movie.”
Watch the video above for more behind the scenes insights—including how Ryan Gosling’s character shifted from the initial vision and Emma Stone learned to love dancing—and be sure to stay tuned for more exclusive TIFF 2016 coverage from our portrait studio.