In a Parade exclusive this week, Emma Stone and director Damien Chazelle, whose new movie musical La La Land opens nationwide this weekend, talk to movie expert Leonard Maltin about Hollywood’s long legacy of movies filled with singing, dancing stars—and many other TV and film stars reveal their all-time favorite musicals.
Chazelle, who also directed Whiplash, says Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) is one of his all-time favorite musicals. “It finishes and I really feel like I’ve lived with these characters,” he says, “connected to them in a way that ‘realistic’ movies sometimes can’t connect you.”
Emma Stone says she and her La La Land co-star, Ryan Gosling, were unconventional choices. “It was important to Damien that they felt like real, flawed people,” she says. “And the movie itself is a cinematic experience beyond just being a musical.”
Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett O’Connor on TV’s Nashville, says her favorite musical is Into the Woods. “It’s about fear and what it makes people do,” she says. “And who sticks together and who doesn’t, and the incredibly brave things we do when we’re frightened.”
Ben Mendelsohn, the villainous Director Orson Krennic in the new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has soft spots for more than one musical. “Singin’ in the Rain is hard to surpass,” he says. “Grease is awesome. For ‘modern’ ones that are fun, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Allison Janney, the star of TV’s Mom, is a lifelong fan of musicals—and a seasoned performer. “I was in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in grade school, then South Pacific,” she says. And “doing 9 to 5 [on Broadway] was a bucket-list thing.”
Iliza Shlesinger, who stars in the ABC streaming comedy series Forever 31, grew up going with her mom to Broadway musicals and watching The Music Man on TV. “I like musicals, but I’m not much of a singer,” she says. “I would trade every ounce of [my] comedic ability for the equal amount of singing ability.”
For more about La La Land and musicals, see Sunday’s Parade or go to http://parade.com/530574/leonardmaltin/mad-about-musicals-la-la-land-reminds-us-of-hollywoods-long-legacy-of-song-and-dance/