Behind the 'Magical' Music of 'La La Land' With Damien Chazelle, Justin Hurwitz & Ryan Gosling: Exclusive Video

When La La Land director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz were at Harvard together, they both loved classic Hollywood musicals. “That was the thing we bonded over as college roommates and It was the pinnacle we were chasing as we were working on music together,” Chazelle says.

And now, the pair have created what many consider a new Hollywood classic (and major Oscar contender) with La La Land, the story of two dreamers -- jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) -- who question what it means to follow your artistic passion.

As this Lionsgate exclusive featurette shows, from the start, the music centered on Hurwitz’s elegant piano theme. “The first music I composed for the movie was actually the theme for the movie,” Hurwitz says. “I wanted material that could unfold on a larger scale and throughout the entire movie.”

“We knew there was something kind of unique and magical about it, and it’s virtually never changed a note,” said producer Fred Berger. “We knew that was the rock and the core of the film musically.”

Gosling, who plays the theme in the movie as well as several of Hurwitz’s other compositions, has never tired of them. “I practiced some of those piano pieces four hours a day for three months,” he says. “I should never want to hear them again, but I’m still moved by them.”

Hurwitz’s often playful score was recorded with a 90-piece orchestra on the same scoring stage where Singing in the Rain and many other great MGM musicals were recorded.

As Chazelle suggests, he and Hurwitz will work together for a long time. “He wrote the music for La La Land, he wrote the music for Whiplash, and he’ll write the music for anything I ever do.”