La La Land features plenty of singing and piano playing by the head actors. Were those real or were they dubbed over by other performers?

  • After having seen the movie I think it's safe to say that neither of them can sing very well. They're not as bad as Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia but they're not good either. Dec 1, 2017 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


Ryan Gosling

Its all him according to an interview:

"In fact, there's not a single close-up shot of [the character] Sebastian's hands in the entire movie that's a piano double," director Damien Chazelle said at a press event for the movie. "It's all Ryan." Even John Legend, who has a smaller part in the film, was impressed: "I was jealous, man," he said. "Watching him play, I was like, 'Wow, this guy is really good and he just learned this in the last few months.' It's pretty amazing."

According to Gosling, it took him three months of lessons to learn to play jazz piano: "The director wanted to shoot all those sequences in one take so there was no opportunity to squeeze in, or sneak in, a proper piano player." How is one person this talented?

Emma Stone

Its all her too according to another interview

Were you nervous about singing in a movie?

I was nervous about it, but I also felt more prepared than I probably ever would have felt before, because I had been doing Cabaret eight times a week and I was able to go a little easier on myself about the fact that I am not, you know, the world's greatest singer by any stretch of the imagination and he really wanted it to be you know very realistic and natural and not technically perfect. So from the beginning he made it a less scary prospect if I need to go on screen and sound like Bette Midler, or something.:

  • 12
    The quoted source doesn't answer the question in Ryan Gosling's case, in my opinion. I think the OP is asking about the audio of the piano playing, rather than the visual effect. It is quite plausible that they showed Ryan Gosling's hands while playing an audio recording of a professional pianist.
    – user47124
    Feb 20, 2017 at 5:36
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    In particular, the fourth-to-last-paragraph of this article claims that's exactly what happened: we're looking at Ryan Gosling's hands and listening to Randy Kerber's performance.
    – user47124
    Feb 20, 2017 at 6:01
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    Bill Murray did something similar in Groundhog Day. Some of the playing during the piano-lessons is really him...but not the rollicking jazz number near the end of the movie, though he fakes it well.
    – Kyralessa
    Mar 9, 2017 at 13:30

While @sanpaco correctly mentions that the singing is real, he is incorrect about the piano sequences. In particular, according to Justin Hurwitz:

Hurwitz was wowed by Gosling’s commitment to learning the piano, specifically seeming to play the elaborate jazz solos laid down by veteran L.A. pianist Randy Kerber.

“There are no CGI hands, no piano doubles, he really had to learn it,” Hurwitz says.

So while the hands are real, the music was actually recorded separately by Randy Kerber.

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