La La Land, the next film from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, will make its world premiere as the opener to this year’s Venice Film Festival. The organization announced Friday that the movie musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will debut Aug. 31 at the Sala Grande at the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido di Venezia.
Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival, called La La Land “a surprising tribute to the golden age of American musicals.” He continued in a statement, “It is a film that does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start. If Whiplash was the revelation of a new filmmaker, La La Land is his definitive, albeit precocious, consecration among the great directors of Hollywood’s new firmament.”
Stone portrays Mia, an aspiring actress who serves lattes to the Hollywood elite in between auditions. Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz musician who makes a living from dingy club gigs. As success mounts, both are forced to make decisions about the dreams they’ve worked so hard to achieve and their relationship.
“There’s an incredible romanticism in L.A. that you don’t always see when you’re stuck in traffic on the 405,” Chazelle previously told EW. “I wanted to make a big love letter to the city and focus on that push and pull that all young artists experience, between dreams and reality, which old Hollywood musicals are so good at expressing.”
La La Land also features J.K. Simmons (who won an Oscar for Whiplash), Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story: Hotel), Sandra Rosko (Aquarius), and John Legend. The film is set to open in limited release on Dec. 2 with a wide debut on Dec. 16 to follow.