When the rest of the world gets to see a movie after production is completed, more often than not we're seeing a final product that looks radically different from how it was originally conceived. The script has been drafted and redrafted, characters have been recast, lines and scenes cut from the completed version. Sometimes, an actor who was originally supposed to star ends up bowing out owing to that most ubiquitous of Hollywood problems: the scheduling conflict.
Emma Watson, along with Miles Teller, was rumored to have been cast in Damien Chazelle's La La Land when it was first announced. But Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling ended up starring in the film. So, what happened? Watson, in an interview with SiriusXM's Town Hall on Friday, explained that the reason she had to leave La La Land is very simple: she just didn't have enough time.
"It's one of these frustrating things where names get attached to projects very early on as a way to kind of build anticipation or excitement for something that's coming before anything is really actually agreed or set in stone," she said. When her supposed casting in La La Land was announced, she'd already committed to playing Belle in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.
"[Beauty and the Beast] wasn't a movie I could just sort of step into," she continued. "I knew I had horse training, I knew I had dancing, I knew I had three months of singing ahead of me and I knew I had to be in London to really do that. This wasn't a movie I could just kind of parachute into. I knew I had to do the work, and I had to be where I had to be. So, you know, scheduling conflict-wise, it just didn't work out."
When La La Land premiered at TIFF last year, Chazelle talked about the casting change in an interview with Uproxx: "The casting of this movie during the six years it took to get made went through lots of permutations, and it's true there was a moment where Emma Watson and Miles Teller were doing it. And neither of those casting things wound up lasting or working out. But it was part of the up and down of this movie: that we were about to make it, we were about to not make it, about to make it, about to not make it."
None of this has dampened Emma Watson's excitement about the recent resurgence of Hollywood musicals. "I'm so thrilled that musicals are so celebrated at the moment!" she told Town Hall. "They seem to be back in the zeitgeist and people are kind of celebrating and loving music and singing and dancing again. I thought [La La Land] was wonderful. It's lovely."