Hollywood is currently in the thick of awards season, and one of the clear frontrunners for Oscar contention this year is La La Land, an original musical directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash). The film, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a jazz pianist and aspiring actress who fall in love, was a hit on the fall film festival circuit, earning near-universal acclaim from critics. That word-of-mouth should only bolster La La Land‘s appeal as it approaches its theatrical premiere in December.
Lionsgate has done a very good job marketing the project, putting together multiple trailers that highlight the emotionally-driven songs and dreamy aesthetic. With its release date on the horizon, the studio has moved to the next phase of advertising, which includes TV spots. A commercial for La La Land has now made its way online, and you can watch it above.
Combining footage from the previous promotional items with some new shots (including more looks at the film’s opening number set in gridlock Los Angeles traffic), the spot primarily focuses on spotlighting many of the positive reviews La La Land has received, selecting choice pull quotes that sell it as a must-see experience. Like many of the other marketing materials, it’s light on dialogue, using the catchy tune featured in the international trailer to set the mood.
If La La Land is as big a hit with audiences as it has been with critics, then the soundtrack should be in high demand during the holiday season. Interscope Records will release the album on December 9, the same date the movie opens in select cities. The label has started their own push for La La Land, unveiling a full-length version of the track “City of Stars,” a duet between Gosling and Stone (hat tip Variety). You can listen to it in the above video.
Some may recognize the song as the one Gosling performed solo in the first La La Land teaser that debuted back in July, but there are some noticeable differences between the two versions. The most obvious one is that the lyrics have been altered. Whereas the trailer’s take struck a somber and mysterious tone, the duet is far more optimistic, coming from the perspective of two people hopeful their wildest dreams are about to come true. One has to wonder if the rendition from the teaser – which ended with the line, “Is this the start of something wonderful and new or one more dream that I cannot make true?” – will be featured in the final cut. It wouldn’t be surprising if “City of Stars” ends up popping up in a couple of scenes, since Lionsgate seems to be positioning it as the movie’s lead song. Time will tell if La La Land ends up being a Best Picture player, but it appears to have a Best Original Song nomination locked up.