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La La Land Opening Number Rehearsal Video Will Make You Want to Listen to the Soundtrack Again

I could use another day of sun.

la la land

Whether you’re a fan of the movie or not, you’ve got to admit that La La Land has at least a few catchy tunes and some inspired dance numbers straight out of classic Hollywood musicals. As you might imagine, there’s so much planning and preparation that goes into the creation of those huge dance numbers, and thanks to director Damien Chazelle and his iPhone, we get to take a peek into the full rehearsal for La La Land‘s opening number.

As you can see, they didn’t block traffic on the freeway to practice or anything, they just parked a bunch of cars in a parking lot and went from there. But beyond that (and wardrobe, I guess), the rehearsal is excellently matched, beat-by-beat. What was especially striking about the movie’s opening number as seen in the film was that it felt like one long take, a massive tracking shot that just bounced around amongst various dancers and singers and scenes all along the freeway. This video illustrates that quite well, as it, too, feels like an excellent single take.

The coordination between the dancers is quite something, but what’s also interesting to think about is how coordinated the camera crew has to be to capture the dancers at just the right moment. It’s one thing to try to dance with a partner, let’s say, but if you try to work a camera into that equation, things can get pretty messy pretty fast. But of course, that wasn’t exactly the case here, and it absolutely wasn’t in the film.

La La Land is, according to FiveThirtyEight, on track to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and Chazelle is likely to win Best Director, with Emma Stone probably picking up Best Actress. If that’s the case, then maybe we can expect some kind of revival of musicals in film beyond Disney features. Or La La Land really is an exceptional case, who knows. While I personally believe there are some other stronger contenders for Best Picture, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get caught up in the film’s spell on my first viewing.

What about you? Did you catch La La Land? What did you think?

(via /Film, image via Black Label Media/Summit Entertainment)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.