- Actor Allusion:
- Sebastian tells his sister he'll set her up with a man who has a face tattoo. Ryan Gosling sported a face tattoo in The Place Beyond the Pines.
- Mia says she could have been a lawyer. Emma Stone played a law school graduate in Crazy Stupid Love.
- Mia's husband played by Tom Everett Scott, pulls her into a jazz bar that belongs to Sebastian. Everett Scott played a jazz-loving drummer in That Thing You Do!.
- Actor-Inspired Element: The scene in which Mia gets interrupted in the middle of her audition is based on a real occurrence with Ryan Gosling. While in the middle of an emotionally powerful audition, the casting director took a phone call. They then said, "You can pick up where you left off."
- Actor-Shared Background: Mia is a college dropout who moved to LA to become an actress. Emma Stone herself dropped out of school to move to LA and pursue an acting career. Though she dropped out of high school at the age of fifteen.
- Big Name Fan: Hideo Kojima loves this film so much that he wrote a love letter for this film.
- Casting Gag: Damien Chazelle again casts J. K. Simmons as a mean character - only while in Whiplash he was a jazz maniac, here he's a jazz hater.
- Doing It for the Art: Ryan Gosling had to learn the piano to properly mimic the previously recorded keyboard track, while John Legend, who is a pianist in real life, had to learn another instrument as his character plays guitar.
- Non-Singing Voice: An instrumental version, as with Miles Teller in Whiplash. No Talent Double is used for Seb, but Ryan Gosling isn't playing the music that we hear in the film.
- Real-Life Relative: The woman who asks for a refund given her snack wasn't gluten free is Olivia Hamilton, wife of director Damien Chazelle.
- His sister was also a dancer in the opening sequence.
- Reality Subtext: Emma Stone was cast as Mia after Damien Chazelle saw her on the stage in a production of Cabaret. This parallels how Mia gets a big acting opportunity after a casting director sees her play.
- Referenced by...: Canadian figure skater Nam Nguyen performed to the La La Land soundtrack for his long program during the 2018-2019 competitive season.
- Those Two Actors: This is the third time, following Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad, where Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone work together. All three are set in Los Angeles and feature their characters hooking up.
- Throw It In!:
- "LA - where they worship everything and value nothing" was an ad-lib by Ryan Gosling, after he heard Eva Mendes say it one day.
- Emma Stone originally only wore the yellow dress as a stand-in for rehearsals. Emma liked it so much she asked to wear it in the film.
- What Could Have Been:
- Miles Teller and Emma Watson were originally going to play Sebastian and Mia, but their respective commitments to do Bleed for This and Beauty and the Beast (2017) prevented them to do so (though Teller said in a summer 2015 interview with Esquire that his agent told him that he was no longer creatively right for the project, despite him interested in working with Damien Chazelle again after doing Whiplash as said by Chazelle in a January 2017 interview with Uproxx). The characters were originally younger before Chazelle aged them up when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were cast.
- On the other side of things, Gosling turned down the role of the beast in Beauty and the Beast (2017) because of this project.
Trivia / La La Land