On location in La La Land with Emma Stone
We shot at a house at the top of Mulholland Drive. It feels like a very Hollywood area up there in the sense that there are a lot of big, glossy glass houses. It is a movie star area. My favorite area in Los Angeles is the Westside by the ocean. I love Venice and Santa Monica and the whole stretch along the Pacific Coast Highway going up to Malibu, I think, is beautiful. I was living in Westside when we were shooting this movie and it was a long ride each day because we were mostly shooting in the Eastside, which is about an hour away – but I love it.
The Watts Towers are absolutely gorgeous sculptures. This was probably my favorite location to shoot at because you are in the middle of this suburb, Watts, and all of a sudden, this gaudy structure is coming up out of the ground and it is just beautiful. The story of the man who built it is full of legend and lore. This guy started building and did not stop building and ended up with this incredible sort of ship-shaped structure, I believe, in his backyard, and then he built this spire out of old bottles and plates and things that he broke and found. It’s stunning.
1727 E 107th St
Warner Bros Studios
My character Mia works in the coffee shop on the Warner Bros lot. They remade a coffee shop on the lot and repainted that street. Warner Bros is fun because a lot of shows have been shot there. You see people walk down a New York City street and it’s really at Warner Bros. I also spent a lot of time at Sony, which I think used to be MGM. And Paramount is a really cool and beautiful studio. When I was an aspiring actress, I worked in a dog bakery at the farmer’s market so that was kind of similar to my experience in La La Land.
3400 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank
We still do have some historic theaters like the Aero in Santa Monica, but unfortunately, the Rialto is closed. I had never been to the Rialto before and at this point, it’s not maintained so it’s pretty sad to see this incredible high ceilinged, gorgeous place that almost looks like a cathedral inside fall to pieces in that way. It was really cool to be able to actually shoot inside that theater and have them remake it just a little for us. Other movie theaters I love in LA include the Cinerama Dome and the Silent Movie Theater where I had a surprise 18th birthday party, which was pretty awesome. We watched City Lights by Charlie Chaplin with a live pianist, which was pretty cool.
1023 Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena
Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market also features in La La Land. I had never been there before this shoot. It’s a bunch of food stalls with really delicious food. There is a place that is kind of unfortunately named but kind of funny: Eggslut. It is delicious and has breakfast sandwiches. It’s very crowded, but very fun.
317 S. Broadway
Highway 105/110 Intersection
Shooting here was great for Ryan and I because we weren’t in the dance number and we just had to sit in our cars and say, “Wow, that’s incredible.” There was a heat wave so it was a hundred and something degrees for two days while all these dancers just executed this incredible sequence. And the cinematographer and the director made the camera do these unbelievable things on this overpass that everyone seems to despise. So it was really special. But freeways in LA are the bane of most inhabitants’ existence. My best advice is to avoid the 405.
I had not been on the Angel’s Flight funicular railway in the Bunker Hill district of Downtown LA before. Doing the Angel’s Flight was Ryan Gosling’s idea because he used to live downtown and had gone on Angel’s Flight before it closed down. I think it’s been closed for about two years and they weren’t getting the funding to open it again. It’s a really beautiful piece of LA history and needs to be reopened. It is a lovely downtown attraction. There are so many things that are walking distance from downtown, so it should be accessible to the public. I really love it.
351 Hill Street
Text: Tina Jøhnk Christensen