South Pasadena Represented in ‘La La Land’ Movie


A portion of “La La Land,” the winner of seven Golden Globes including best picture comedy or musical, was filmed in South Pasadena on August 18, 2015 at the historic Rialto Theater, along with driving shots up and down Fair Oaks Avenue.

“La La Land” Director Damian Chazelle discussed why he selected the Rialto Theatre in a recent Entertainment Weekly article: “The Rialto is a movie theater which used to be very functioning in South Pasadena and it doesn’t play movies anymore,” Chazelle said. “The theater plays an important role in ‘La La Land,’ in which the main characters watch the seminal James Dean drama ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’ It’s been more or less shut down except for specific events. But the closed up thing is closer to the truth than when we were shooting the scenes of the Rialto actually working. I remember scouting it and you go inside this absolutely gorgeous building, on the outside and inside. And we used flashlights to walk around, and there was dust everywhere and we literally felt like we were in a wrecked ship or the ruins of a monument. It was strange and beautiful.”

Film liaison for the City of South Pasadena, Joan Aguado, noted: “It was so exciting to see our Rialto Theater play itself.  In the film, Ryan Gosling’s character asked Emma Stone’s character to see “Rebel Without a Cause” at the Rialto Theater by name.  The Rialto has been seen before in feature films, television shows, and commercials, but it has mostly played a nameless theater.  ‘La La Land’ featured both the interior and exterior of the Rialto in all of its  vintage, original glory. It was a wonderful homage to our beloved, historic landmark.”

City of South Pasadena Film Liaison Joan Aguado contributed to this article.

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