Even though Ryan Gosling is now one of the faces of
young Hollywood, don't tell him that. The guy doesn't take stardom
or gossip columns or "sexiest guy alive" stories seriously, he's
just an artist practicing his craft.
And a damned fine one, we've got to say. In the
past decade Gosling has catapulted out of nowhere to film stardom.
(Okay, not from nowhere, but I hardly think that he considers his
time on the New Mickey Mouse Club with Britney Spears, Justin
Timberlake and Christina Aguilera as an important part of his rťsumť
Instead, Gosling has shown uncanny taste in choosing
films and a wonderful opportunity to balance quirky independent
films like Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, Drive and Lars &
the Real Girl with Hollywood studio fare like Crazy Stupid
Love, The Ides of March and The Notebook.
Gosling's latest reunites him with Blue Valentine
director Derek Cianfrance. In The Place Beyond the Pines,
Gosling plays Luke, a carny stunt motorcyclist. When passing
through Schenectady, NY with his carnival, Luke runs into Romina
(Eva Mendes), a gorgeous young waitress with whom he'd had a fling
the year before.
When Luke finds out that their one-nighter has
produced a baby named Jason, he decides to settle down and try to
become a good father and boyfriend. However, stunt riding is not a
very in-demand skill and in a desperate attempt to earn money to
care for his new family, Luke makes an ill-conceived decision to try
A couple of weeks before The Place Beyond the
Pines was released, Gosling met with PopEntertainment.com and a
few other media outlets at the famous Waldorf-Astoria in New York to
tell us about his experience on the film and fill us in a little on
Had you ridden
motorcycles before like you did in the movie?
Are you used to
it? Did they have to train you for stunt work?
Yeah. I did get a lot of training, because it was in
the nature of the way Derek wanted to shoot the film. A lot of
things were in one take. Especially, the bank robberies Ė he wanted
them all to be shot all in one take. That meant riding from down the
street in front of the bank, running in, robbing it and then the
getaway. So I had to do more than I probably would have to do on a
regular film. But the really cool stuff was done by Rick Miller.
When Batman gets on a motorcycle, it is Rick in the bat-suit.
Were there any
stunts that worried you while you were doing them?
Yeah. There were a couple. I wasnít worried because
I was working with a great stunt team and they had planned and
choreographed everything very carefully. [But] there was one where I
had to ride from like four blocks away, park in front of the bank,
run in, rob it, get out, get on my bike and then drive into oncoming
traffic and dodge a bunch of oncoming cars. That was quite
do you keep working with Derek? What is it about him that is
different from other directors?
Heís really unlike any other director I have worked
with. Itís hard to explain the amount of effort it takes for him to
make a film that feels so effortless. Although his filmmaking is
cinematic and beautiful itís also kind of invisible. He really makes
the performances the focus and tries to make the camera invisible Ė
to us and also to the audience. At the same time he makes these
wildly cinematic movies, but they are not self conscious. He tees it
up for the actors to be natural because he puts so much work into
For instance at the bank. All the people who worked
at that bank actually go that bank and he surrounds you with that
environment and sets the bar and we have to try to meet that level
This was an
intense movie. How did you shake it off emotionally and physically?
How did I shake it off? I donít know. I think itís
still with me to a certain degree. I learned a lot from making this
How did this
collaboration come about?
We were making Blue Valentine and I shared
with him that I had this cockamamie theory that I could rob a bank
and get away with it, if I wasnít so afraid of jail. This was my
plan Ė that I would do it this way. He said, "Thatís crazy, I just
wrote a movie about that." So it felt like we should make that
you find it hard to play a character who tries to get redemption but
doesnít accomplish it? It always leaves you with a melancholy taste
in your mouth. Was it difficult for you?
No, I really thought that it was interesting. Coming
from a film [Gangster Squad] where millions of bullets fly
and no one gets hurt and there are no consequences for your actions
and everything is fine at the end of the day, I was impressed that
Derek was trying to make a film that was just the opposite of whatís
so popular right now. Only two shots are fired in this movie and
those shots resonate throughout the entire film. Itís all about
consequences. In the case of my character itís this guy who is sort
of a melting pot of masculine clichťs: muscles, tattoos,
motorcycles, guns, knives. Then he sees he has this child that he
didnít know he had and a mirror is held up to him. He realizes that
those things donít make you a man at all. That he is not a man at
all, that heís just a surface and superficial person without depth.
So in keeping with his character [he] does this melodramatic
over-romanticized idea of how to turn a sinking ship around.
What were ways
you prepared for some of the emotional scenes with Eva and the baby
who played your son? How did you get into the mindset?
Another great thing about Derek is that he never
writes those emotional marks in the script. You never fee like you
are coming to the set and you have to hit some emotional marks. They
happen naturally. One of the things was very helpful for me,
although embarrassing to me at the time and a little today. We
wanted to make the tattoos a mess and look like someone who had
lived a life of not thinking things through and making bad
decisions. I went for the face tattoo and I showed up on the set and
I said, "I canít do this. It looks dumb. I canít do this." And Derek
said, "Iím sure thatís how most people feel about their face tattoo.
Most people probably regret them. So you are stuck with it." This
movie is about consequences. I was so ashamed that I had done that Ė
that I had pushed it so far. That I thought this is going to be
distracting in the movie. Iím ruining the movie. I just felt this
overwhelming sense of shame that I donít think I could have acted.
When I was holding the baby Ė Tony Pizza, the kid who plays our
child Ė I kind of felt ashamed that this person I created was his
father. I was glad that Derek held my feet to the fire in that
because it really made me walk around with this. I didnít even want
to look at myself in the mirror. I felt like I understood what it
city of Schenectady played such a major role in the movie. What was
it like really being in the bank and the other locations?
I loved Schenectady. It reminded me a lot of where I
grew up: Cornwall, Ontario. There are a lot of similarities.
Talk about how
realistic everything was.
Sometimes it backfired, like in the bank robberies.
I got to the place and I am there and looked down and everyone is
smiling and had their cell phones out. (laughs) Just having a
good time. That was rough. Because I thought "Oh no, what are we
going to do?" and Derek was blaming me, saying "you are not being
If this movie
were cast with old-time actors who do you imagine in your role Ė
James Dean? A young Marlon Brando?
Probably Sal Mineo.
What do you think
is so appealing about dark themes Ė to you and to audiences?
Derek has this theory. He believes that cinema is a
place where you can visit those private moments where the curtain is
lifted and you see people for who they are. I think a lot of times
mainstream movies are more about people who are confident. And
independent films tend to be more about people who are not so
confident about themselves, their lives, where they are headed or
what they have done.
Is it funny to
play a character like in
everyone wanted to be him and wear the jacket? Take on that persona
and have people create a cultural icon over it?
It was my dream to make a character that people went
out for on Halloween. As a kid I would see on Halloween every Johnny
Depp character out there and think how was he doing it? So when we
did Drive, I was really hoping for the Halloween costume.
People started sending me pictures on Halloween. It was working.
There were Drive characters everywhere.
do you feel about the fan clubs on the internet, the scores of young
girls and women who will follow you anywhere and everywhere? Is it
weird, flattering? Do you like it?
Remember when Fabio was on that roller coaster and
he got hit in the face with a pigeon? (laughs) It was like,
wrong place, wrong time. I have been kind of feeling like that
Did you start
your next movie that you are directing?
We start in a couple of months.
Are you excited?
I was nervous until I had my cast, but now that I
have this cast I am excited. You canít really go wrong. They are
one of the best. Iíve been on the other side of a scene with most of
them so I know how great they are. I like them all so much and I
just canít wait to see them in a movie together.
Was this the most
vulnerable you ever felt Ė directing this for the first time?
There was no where to hide.
What is your next
You never stop making the movie until itís finished.
So I feel like it will be different when itís over than what I say
now. So I will wait until itís done.
Do you think
producing and directing makes you a better actor?
Iíll tell you after itís done, I havenít really done
heard that some fathers are calling their sons to spend some quality
time together after seeing
The Place Beyond
The Pines since it is so much about the dynamic of fathers and
sons. Is that something that was in your mind when you were creating
the character of Luke, your own personal relationship with your
It wasnít because it is so different. Derek tries to
keep it chronological so at the end of the day when I am presented
with Tony Pizza [the baby] I tried not to have a preconceived idea
or think too much about the themes in Derekís films. He wants a
certain level of naturalism and not pre-planned feelings or
responses. I try not to think too much about it.
Did you have much
rehearsal with Eva or any of the cast members?
I donít think there was any rehearsal. For the most
part he has you kind of live the lives as much as you can of those
characters Ė not by working on the scenes but you coming to know the
character by living their life.
Did you live in
that trailer during the shooting?
What did you do
to prepare for the role Ė rob banks?
It was mostly we just spent a lot of time on the bike. Rick Miller
and I riding around Schenectady for about a month. That was about
it. Thereís not much going on inside of Luke. Heís a pretty surface
person, who is faced with his own lack of depth. I tried not to
think too much.
you try to balance out some of your darker roles with lighter ones
so you donít destroy yourself emotionally over and over again?
Anything coming up that is more popcorn fare?
I hope that all of them are popcorn fare. Iíd like
to say I had a good time making a comedy. I just loved working with
Steve Carell [in Crazy Stupid Love]. Iíd like to do that
again. That was great.
Any genre you
want to do that you havenít done before?
No. I feel like Iíd like to do more comedies. Drama
is so subjective. It works or it doesnít for someone. Comedy is
either funny or itís not. They laugh or they donít. You can tell if
itís working or not. When you do drama it dissipates out into the
ether, you never quite know if itís is resonating.
How difficult is
it to find complex roles? Do you think there is a shortage of roles
No, I think itís a great time because anyone can
make a movie. You are going to start to see very personal films.
They might not necessarily need me anymore, but thatís okay. I guess
that means I can do the same thing.
HERE TO SEE WHAT RYAN GOSLING HAD TO SAY TO US IN 2008!
HERE TO SEE WHAT EVA MENDES HAD TO SAY TO US ABOUT THE PLACE
BEYOND THE PINES!