During a special Q&A at the Lionsgate Lounge at SXSW, two-time Academy Award winner Justin Hurwitz hit the stage and the piano to discuss the processes behind composing the music for La La Land.
At the end of the almost hour long talk, which included a number of brief performances from Hurwitz as he detailed how the music developed over the years that led up to the film’s release, Hurwitz revealed how the acclaimed film connected to Director Damien Chazelle’s debut feature, Guy and Madeleine on a Park Bench.
It turns out, firstly, that the song Sebastian plays at the end was changed, with Hurwitz revealing that he was originally scripted to perform “Japanese Folk Song” by Thelonious Monk – a song that was referenced several times in the leadup. He said that they ended up scaling this plot thread back in the film’s final version, which led to its removal from the film’s finale.
In its place sits a “bop version” of a track called “Cincinnati”, from Chazelle’s debut feature, something he remarked people hadn’t picked up on. The thinking behind this, Hurwitz commented, was that “in Damien’s movie universe, everyone knows his movies and all their music, they’re standards.” Whether this a casual comment on Chazelle’s ego, or if Chazelle really is creating his own cinematic universe remains unclear – but in the meantime you can pile this fact into your La La Land trivia pile.
La La Land hits digital on April 11th and is released on 4K, DVD and Blu-Ray on April 25th.