No disrespect to Keri Russell or Justin Timberlake, but Ryan Gosling is easily the most powerfully versatile actor to emerge from that thespian crucible we call the Mickey Mouse Club. He’s done very well playing relatively straightforward leads in “Fracture” and the chick-flick phenom, “The Notebook,” but the 30-year-old Canadian with an oddly urban accent has specialized in playing a wide variety of oddballs and doing it better than anyone of his generation. Right now, he can be seen going way into the violent dark side of life with the rather remarkable thriller, “Drive.” From Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, it’s a fascinating blend of 70s/80s aesthetics, true romance and deliberately ugly brutality. Describing his attraction to the film, Gosling says, “I’ve always wanted to be in a violent John Hughes movie. I always thought that if ‘Pretty in Pink’ had a head smashing, it’d be perfect.”
He was more serious than you might think when he said that. And so it went as a very interesting Mr. Gosling spoke with Bullz-Eye and other journos about his latest film. Check out a sample of the roundtable discussion below and then head over to Bullz-Eye to read the full interview.
On his unusual relationship with violent cinema and on being a head-smashing “superhero.”
When I was a little kid, when I first saw “First Blood,” it put a spell on me. I thought I was Rambo; I even thought my face felt like Sylvester Stallone’s face when I touched it. I went to school the next day. I put steak knives in my Fisher Price Houdini kit, and I took ’em, and I threw them at all the kids at recess. I got suspended, rightfully so, and I’m sorry and I learned my lesson and I never did anything like that again. But my parents said, “This guy can’t watch movies, or violent movies anyways.” They put me on a leash and I could only watch Bible. National Geographic movies, and black and white comedies, Abbott and Costello…
I understand the effect that movies can have on you, and the kind of spell that they can cast on you. When I first read this script, I felt like this is a guy who’s just seen too many movies. He’s going around acting like he’s the hero of his own action movie. I wanted to play a superhero, but all the good ones are taken. I thought, “Well, I can create my own, potentially.”
On working with “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn, best known previously for such hyperviolent slices of cinema as the acclaimed “Bronson” starring Tom Hardy and the Danish “Pusher” trilogy.
Look, ever since Nicolas was a little boy, his mother has been telling him he’s a genius and everything he did was genius. Even when he was watching “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” while he ate his cereal before he went to elementary school in the morning. Obsessively, she believed he was a genius. I think that, you get told that enough, eventually it becomes true. I’m not sure that he really started out as one, but I do believe he’s become one.
He is a very unfiltered filmmaker. He just makes what he wants to see. If it’s boring to him, he won’t shoot it. He fetishizes things, in a way… He sexualizes things because he can’t maybe be as sexual as he’d want to be [because he’s married]. He talks about filmmaking a lot like having sex. It has to arouse him and has to be sexually interesting to him, even if it’s a pair of gloves or where you hand is in the frame. It has to literally turn him on.