This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The merits of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s musical talents in La La Land have been the subject of a hearty and sometimes heated debate since the film’s release in December. Say what you will about the stars’ singing and dancing skills. (Many of you already have in the comments section of my colleague’s scathing critique of the almost-Best Picture’s casting.) But when it comes to Gosling’s piano-playing in the film, I think most of us can agree that the actor did a damn good job, courtesy of his hardworking instructor.
Meet Liz Kinnon, who introduces herself in this exclusive clip (from the La La Land Blu-ray and digital release out this week) as “the piano teacher/coach/guru for Ryan Gosling in his role as Sebastian.” Um, first of all: can you even imagine how it feels to wake up as the woman who gets to call herself the personal piano guru to the human man with this face? Second of all: OMG WHAT WAS IT LIKE LIZ TELL US EVERYTHING. Read on and watch the featurette below to find out.
[Warning: The content you are about to see contains detailed descriptions of a woman’s close and prolonged one-on-one relationship with Gosling, a.k.a. Piano Bae, a.k.a. Baby Goose. It may cause you to feel pangs of jealousy and envy. And also maybe lust.]
Did Gosling know any piano? No. “When I first met Ryan, he made it very clear made it to me that he was not a pianist,” Kinnon says. “He had played by ear a little bit, but he didn’t have any technique.” Nonetheless, Kinnon sensed a certain potential in the internet bae of “hey girl” memes renown: “I knew that he was a very musical guy already.”
What kind of a student was he? An… intensely passionate one. Gosling wanted to learn how to play everything himself, but there wasn’t enough time before filming to teach him how to read and play music. “So he learned everything by rote,” Kinnon explains. “I showed him, he thought about it, he tried it, we went over and over it again, he memorized it. And he was very, very committed, as I was, to try to get it as close as possible.” Mm… the closeness. Tell us more.
Did they sit right next to each other on the piano bench, thighs touching? Actually, she doesn’t answer this one for some reason. Just thought I’d put it out there.
How much one-on-one time did they spend together? A lot. As in, you-should-probably-sit down-before-you-hear-this a lot. “We worked together two hours a day, usually five days a week. Sometimes six days a week,” says Kinnon. (Don’t do the math, it will only heighten the jealous rage you are experiencing right now. We can all just agree it’s literally so unfair.) She adds, “Sometimes he would videotape me playing it and watch it later.” OMG that’s so weird, sometimes I dream of Ryan Gosling videotaping me and watching it later.
Was it intimate when she ever so slowly guided his perfect fingers to the right keys, catching his gaze and finding herself lost in pools of sapphire light for just a moment? Again, N/A.
Did Gosling enjoy their lessons? Very much so. He calls it “one of the most fulfilling pre-production periods I’ve ever had.” Ahh, the sweet sensation of fulfillment. It feels so good. Job well done, Liz Kinnon.
OKAY brb, off to reevaluate my career path and painstakingly retrace every step that led me here, writing this, instead of sitting next to Ryan Gosling on a piano bench, igniting his untapped passions and stirring his musical soul.
La La Land Behind The Scenes – Ryan Gosling Piano Teacher
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