This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

The 'La La Land' Choreographer Breaks Down How They Filmed That Massive Opening Scene

No, not *that* Mandy Moore.

The choreographer of "La La Land" Mandy Moore (no, not that Mandy Moore) has broken down the inner workings of the epic opening highway scene from the film for "Vanity Fair".

Moore, who worked closely on the Oscar-winning film with director Damien Chazelle, detailed the importance in the smallest details within the routine, what she calls "probably the most difficult thing I have ever done in my entire career".

What looked like a flawless one-shot on a busy stretch of highway was actually a meticulously orchestrated performance that opened the film. Moore gave us a little behind-the-scenes insight as to how it all happened, including a few sneaky cuts buried in the high-paced sequence.

"There was actually a little cut hidden in there, I don't know if I was actually supposed to say that or not," Moore said.

The video also reveals other tidbits about the sequence, as well as showing what Moore calls "happy accidents" throughout. When the camera passes by a woman twirling a hula hoop, which Moore reveals is actually Chazelle's sister, they captured a moment of lens flare.

"We probably shot, I think it was like 47 takes or something. On this particular shot we got this beautiful lens flare on her." The shot is so striking it's no wonder it made it into the final cut.

But the most incredible thing was just how organised the whole production had to be. Describing her labeling system and how it spanned across departments.

"So we can discuss, 'Okay D11, that's Patrick. He dances on a roof so it has to be reinforced, we know he's in a white car so he shouldn't wear white, so he's gonna be in something that's in a green and brown colour'."

What a headache.

Luckily it all ended up looking amazing, and the iconic sequence was almost immediately parodied for a star-studded opening to the Golden Globes, and even used to ask the film's star Emma Stone to a high school prom (she said no).

Check out the full video of Mandy's commentary above.


Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact