La La Land was one of the most successful movies of 2016, and so far it’s cleaned up on the awards circuit. With a record 14 Oscar nominations, including Best Actress and Best Actor, it’s fair to wonder why anyone would have turned down the project.
Well, in fact, a few high-profile names did reportedly turn down the leads. Though now it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the lead roles, we apparently could have seen a very different movie, according to Page Six:
Miles Teller and Emma Watson — both repped by CAA — were originally tapped as leads in the movie, but Hollywood insiders said both lost the roles for being too demanding.
Now, as with anything sourced by Hollywood insiders, it’s perhaps best to take the editorializing with a grain of salt. But apparently Watson and Teller were the original choices of director Damien Chazelle. It would have certainly made for a different movie. Teller had previously worked with Chazelle on Whiplash, so the connection there makes sense. And Emma Watson is, well, Emma Watson.
Here’s where negotiations were rumored to break down:
One movie insider said, “Miles was offered $4 million to star in ‘La La Land,’ but he said he wanted $6 million. Watson was offered the lead female role, but she initially wouldn’t commit. Then she began making all these crazy demands, like rehearsals for the film must be done in London — for a film called ‘La La Land!’ They jumped through hoops to make it work with her, but she just didn’t feel the film was right for her.
Producers finally cast Emma Stone — and once she was on board, Ryan Gosling jumped at the chance to work with her again.”
One of my favorite Internet rabbit holes is NotStarring.com, where you can find all kinds of potential film castings that never happened. This is another one for the list, though if both leads win Oscars, Watson and Teller’s frustrations are going to be more understandable.
Then again, much of the charm of La La Land comes from Stone and Gosling’s chemistry.
So who knows? (Other than Hollywood insiders, anyway.)