While transported away by the cinematic musical magic of La La Land, you might have spotted a confusingly familiar location or two.
For our part, we were somewhat amused to see leads Sebastian and Mia (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) strolling past Miss Patty’s dance school from Gilmore Girls, as well as a couple of other locations from the series’ Stars Hollow – and that’s because a certain amount of the film is filmed (and set) at the famed Warner Bros Studios backlot where the recently revived comedy-drama series was also brought to life.
The backlot has a wide variety of exterior sets, from courthouses and American streets to jungle lagoons, all of which are redesigned, re-fitted and dressed for any time period, setting or purpose imaginable for a variety of different productions.
And for a film suffused with Hollywood glamour, it’s a very fitting location – over the years various movies and TV shows have used the permanent outdoor building locations to shoot in, from Blade Runner and True Blood to Spider-Man and ER – with Mia’s job at a (fictional, above) coffeehouse on the lot a neat way to acknowledge and include the sets without actually using them to stand in for real locations (instead, La La Land filmed in various real LA locations). And anyway, it wouldn’t be a Hollywood movie without the inclusion of a big studio lot, right?
But there’s a very meta twist in the tale. It turns that not every scene set at the Warner Bros lot was actually filmed there, with Hollywood Center Studios standing in for its fellow studio for certain shots.
In other words, a collection of sets designed to stand in for real locations became a real location that had to be stood in for by a different collection of sets. You could either see it as a taste of its own movie medicine – or a sign that the backlot has FINALLY made it in Hollywood in a starring role.