Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are Venice bound. Their upcoming musical La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, has been selected to open the 2016 Venice Film Festival, marking the film’s world premiere. The film, anticipated and considered an early awards contender, will play in competition, opens the festival on August 31st.
A valentine to Golden Age of Hollywood musicals, the film centers around a jazz pianist (Gosling) who falls for an aspiring actress (Stone). The budding romance becomes more and more complicated as each find success within their art. As Festival director Alberto Barbera puts it, “La La Land is a surprising tribute to the golden age of American musicals, from An American in Paris by Vincent Minnelli to New York, New York by Martin Scorsese. It is a film that does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start. If Whiplash was the revelation of a new filmmaker, La La Land is his definitive, albeit precocious, consecration among the great directors of Hollywood’s new firmament.”
Chazelle’s last film Whiplash proved a breakout, taking home three Academy Awards (including one for J.K. Simmons‘ performance; the actor also appears in La La Land) and winning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Chazelle made his directorial debut on the indie musical Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. He commented on the Venice bid by stating, “On behalf of the cast and crew of La La Land, I am both thrilled and honored by the festival’s invitation. It is deeply humbling for us to join the company of their previous opening-night films, and we could not be more excited to share our movie with the audience in Venice.”
Venice has had a string of successes in recent years with their opening night headlines – recent entries have included Oscar winning titles like Black Swan (2010), Gravity (2013) and Birdman (2014). Last year, Everest opened the film festival. The 2016 Venice Film Festival will run from August 31st – September 10th.
Lionsgate will release La La Land on December 2nd.