La La Land Almost Starred An Entirely Different Emma

Photo: Max Lakner/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
In case America wasn't divided enough by the end of 2016, the December release of Damien Chazelle's La La Land really pushed us over the edge. Depending on whom you talk to (or which New Yorker review you read), it's either a filmic godsend that will make musical fiends out of all of us, or a whitewashed Manic Pixie Dream journey propelled by a couple of dud singers. But what if the leads had been cast differently?

We already know that Miles Teller, the star of Chazelle's previous — and much darker — music-focused movie Whiplash, was originally cast as Gosling's character, Sebastian. As for Stone's struggling actress, Mia, People reports that Emma Watson was the initial pick. Chazelle told Uproxx that while "the casting of this movie during the six years it took to get made went through lots of permutations...it's true there was a moment where Emma Watson and Miles Teller were doing it."

Watson can certainly carry a tune, as evidenced by teasers for her role in Disney's upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast movie. But what about Teller? Those of us who were secretly psyched to see him sing doofy Broadway ditty "Mama Says" on-screen in Footloose were disappointed when the movie went a different musical route (spoiler: dance-lesson montage). But given his surprising level of skill in singing Motown duets with country stars (?), we imagine Teller would have held his own in La La Land.

But it's no real loss, because Stone and Gosling are charming, and their chemistry is superb. We would never want to turn this into a battle of the Emmas (although IMHO Emma Roberts would have been a decidedly poor choice), and it's clear all four of these talented actors are doing great things these days. Plus, there's something about watching 36-year-old Gosling — rather than twentysomething Teller — play the floundering artist that just makes the rest of us feel better about not yet knowing what/where/who we want to be when we grow up.
Advertisement