Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning director of “La La Land” and “Whiplash,” is executive producing an eight-episode series for Netflix titled “The Eddy.” Chazelle will also be directing two of the episodes, which will be written by Jack Thorne of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” fame. “The Eddy” will be set in contemporary Paris, focusing on the owner and house band of a club, as well as the city around them; the show intends to hire primarily French cast and crew. Interestingly, it will feature dialogue in English, French, and Arabic, exploring the multiculturalism of modern Paris. Oh, and the best part? It’ll be a musical.
I’m not sure how to feel about this project yet. On one hand, it’s a multicultural musical exploring (hopefully) interesting relationships in a vibrant city. On the other hand, it’s Damien Chazelle. While “La La Land” is beloved by many, it didn’t strike the right chord with me. I was disappointed by its focus on spectacle over story, slow pacing, and casting decisions. The music itself I liked, but I only discovered that through cover versions from singers that had more skill and energy than the original versions.
“La La Land” has also been criticized, rightfully so, for both its self-obsession and extraordinary whiteness. It’s a love story about Hollywood, is it any wonder that Hollywood rewarded it with so many accolades? Beyond that, however, it takes on an almost absurd level of nostalgia as both white leads yearn for a time past: classic Hollywood for Mia (coincidentally, a totally white Hollywood) and “real” jazz for Sebastian. While the movie features some performances from Black jazz musicians, the focus on a white man on a mission to “save” jazz without any real discussion of the racial history of the art form feels decided tone-deaf, and even deliberately brushed over.
All of this is to say, I have concerns about “The Eddy.” The inclusion of different cultures and languages seems promising, but will it be the story of a white man and how his personal life and journey are affected by his relationships with people of color, or will it reach out to fully tell the stories of different kinds of people? Will it remain a production team of all white men, or will they include Arab people in crafting these stories? Will they actually cast people who are trained in musical performance, or will we be stuck with another Ryan Gosling?
I’ll be watching the show when it’s released to find the answer to all of these questions, but seriously: don’t give us another Ryan Gosling.