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15 Feb 2017

BY Abigail Healy


On Our Radar: Going ga-ga for La La Land

Taking the movie-going world by storm, La La Land is also doing a great job of promoting Los Angeles’ highlights, says April Hutchinson


Los Angeles needs little introduction, but if you, or your clients, need a reminder of the appeal of the City of Angels, 2017’s hottest film is doing a pretty good job of jogging memories of its sunny charms.


La La Land stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as Mia and Sebastian, who are both struggling to fulfill their creative dreams of being an actress and a jazz musician in LA.


A homage to 1950s musicals with a contemporary update, director Damien Chazelle’s movie took more Golden Globes than any other film in history earlier this year, just scooped five Baftas and has 14 Oscar nominations – the winners will be revealed in LA on February 26.


A riot of colour packed with quirky musical numbers, La La Land has spurred the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB) to work with the film’s makers, Lionsgate, to create a new guide to the city, showing how to experience LA as it appears on the big screen.


Having been to LA a couple of times myself, I was keen to soak up the movie in all its big-screen glory at a screening with LATCB in London. I wasn’t disappointed – by the film or its backdrop, which features many places I am yet to visit, such as Griffith Park.


In the film, this is where Sebastian and Mia finally start to bring their relationship to life and perform the brilliant number A Lovely Night with the San Fernando Valley in the background (pictured). Later, Griffith Observatory is in the frame too – opened in 1935 and one of LA’s icons, this is a place for stargazers of all ages and levels of knowledge to visit.


Music lovers will no doubt know jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderley – who have all played at The Lighthouse Cafe since it opened in Hermosa Beach in 1949. Not only does Sebastian take Mia there to make her fall in love with jazz, he also bumps into singing star and musician John Legend.


And what’s a film about LA without a visit to a movie studio? Some scenes were shot in Warner Bros, which visitors to the city can pay to take a tour of.


Of course, anyone driven by a La La Land desire would not be the first person to hit the city on account of something seen on screen – about 1.5 million visitors a year make the trip with a primary focus on visiting places they’ve seen in TV and film.

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