Watson was forced to walk away from the role of Mia Dolan a struggling actress who meets and falls in love with jazz musician Sebastian Wilder in Los Angeles.
Damien Chazelle wrote the screenplay in 2010 but could not convince a studio to finance the project. The film gained traction, however, after the Hollywood rumor mill reported that Watson and Miles Teller were being eyed for the lead roles.
“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 actually agreed or set in stone,” the 26-year-old said during a SiriusXM radio Town Hall.
“But it was one of those situations where I had been committed to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at that point. And I had to be where I had to be, and scheduling conflict wise it just didn’t work out,” she added.
What’s more, the role of Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” and Mia in “La La Land” were both demanding.
“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,” Watson explained.
“And this [La La Land] 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 scheduling conflict-wise, it just didn’t work out.”
The part went to Emma Stone, who starred opposite Ryan Gosling and won the 2016 Oscar for Best Actress, topping Isabelle Huppert in “Elle,” Ruth Negga in “Loving,” Natalie Portman in “Jackie” and Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
“La La Land” was critically acclaimed and grossed more than $400 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget.
The film won seven Golden Globe Awards and received 14 nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, tying “Titanic” (1997) and “All About Eve” (1950).
Chazelle won an Oscar for Best Director, in addition to Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“City of Stars”) and Best Production Design.
“I’m so thrilled that musicals are so celebrated at the moment!” Watson said.
“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.”
“Beauty and the Beast” will hit theaters next Friday (Mar. 17)
Check out trailers for both below.
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