I talked to Jacob Staudenmaier, the Arizona kid who invited Emma Stone to his high school prom

This article originally appeared as an exclusive story on Silver Screen Beat.

Prepare to begin questioning the accomplishments of your own life after you read about Jacob Staudenmaier, a 17-year-old high school student from Phoenix, Arizona who loves making and watching movies, aspires to go to film school after he graduates and recently asked Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone to his prom later this month. This kid is definitely going places.

“It only took 2 hours to film it, but it required about two weeks of intense planning on my part,” Staudenmaier told me during a late-night interview on Tuesday. He’s talking about his recreation of the opening scene of Damien Chazelle’s jazz-infused musical La La Land where he re-wrote the lyrics of Justin Hurwitz’s “Another Day of Sun” to ask the film’s star, Stone, to his upcoming high school prom. “I don’t think it was easy, but all the planning I did helped make the filming go smoothly. I really enjoyed getting to recreate that scene because it’s one of my favorites of recent memory.”

At press time, Staudenmaier’s unique prom proposal has nearly 6,000 likes and 3,000 retweets, with interview requests from major networks such as ABC and FOX pouring in by the dozens. “I did not expect the reaction would be so intense and amazing when I released the video,” he said. “La La Land was one of my favorite films of the year and I’ve always loved Emma Stone as an actress. A student at my high school had also asked Miley Cirus to prom several years back which gave me the inspiration for this, but I decided if I was doing it I needed to make it big and ambitious. I didn’t want it to just be me standing with a prom sign.”


Silver Screen Beat reached out to Stone’s reps for comment but haven’t heard back just yet. As for Staudenmaier, he has a backup plan just in case Stone doesn’t respond or, unfortunately, decides to decline the invitation. However, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Stone, a Phoenician herself, decides to make Staudenmaier one lucky teenager.

A lover of cinema, Staudenmaier says one of his favorite films is Whiplash, Chazelle’s first big hit before La La Land made waves around the world last year with its impressive musical numbers and ensemble cast that also included Ryan Gosling, John Legend, and J.K. Simmons. “A few of my other favorite films would be Pulp Fiction, The Departed, Inception, Memento, and No Country for Old Men. I love watching anything and everything.” Staudenmaier, who loves to make films whether they are “getting lots of attention or none,” admires the work of Edgar Wright, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, “and of course, Damien Chazelle.”

When I asked Staudenmaier for his thoughts on the Best Picture frenzy at the 89th Oscars back in February, he said that the situation was “absolutely wild” but thought both films were amazing and equally deserving of Hollywood’s top honor. “I was glad Moonlight got a little bit more attention since La La Land had received numerous other awards.”

Best of luck to you, Jacob. Here’s to hoping you make every other guy at your school jealous.

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Matt Casillas

Hey, it's Matt Casillas! I am a Digital Content Producer and Editor for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm