I've had the benefit of speaking with Damien Chazelle twice now, both times under very different circumstances. The first was a couple of years ago following the world premiere of his breakout film, Whiplash, when everyone at Sundance was buzzing about it. At the time the only talk of Oscars surrounded J.K. Simmons' supporting performance (which he went on to win), but the movie ended up winning three out of its five nominations.
The second time was for La La Land, Chazelle's sweeping Hollywood musical that reunites America's favorite screen couple, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It's another film that shows Chazelle's enduring love of jazz music, only this time wrapped in a love of golden age Hollywood of the '50s and '60s. It's a more hopeful, romantic movie than the forceful Whiplash, and shows Chazelle's flexibility as a director. Ever since the film premiered it has been considered the clear frontrunner for Best Picture, and that's a situation I think Chazelle is still trying to get used to.
We talked about a number of things in my interview with him, from the change in his own attitude over the last couple of years to the difficulty in directing a much bigger film. We also joked a little about what his next jazz movie could be, and it involves space aliens. Check out the interview below, and my review of La La Land here!