Ryan Gosling one hot mess in 'Place Beyond the Pines'
NEW YORK -- Ryan Gosling needs only announce he's taking a break from acting and all hell breaks loose. Keep calm and carry on, people -- he's just going to be occupied with How to Catch a Monster, the movie he wrote and will direct.
Right now he's promoting The Place Beyond the Pines, an intense drama about fathers and sons that reunites him with his Blue Valentine director, Derek Cianfrance. Gosling stars as a motorcycle stunt driver who is part of a traveling carnival show; to help support his family, he turns to bank robbing. Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper co-star.
Luke, his character in the film,"Is very real, a mess, kind of a disaster," says Gosling.
But he and Luke are not without a few things in common. The actor says he told his director that he had had an idea, in real life, about how to commit the perfect bank robbery. That idea was put to use in Place Beyond the Pines.
But the robbery thing, says Gosling, "Was a fantasy, and the reality of it was very different. I think I have a tendency to try to romanticize things or create a mythology for some things, or want to believe the idea of something, and try to avoid the reality of it. With this character, maybe we were similar in that way."
Gosling, 32, may describe himself as a dreamer, but he's been a hard-working professional since the age of 13. The Canadian actor started on the Mickey Mouse Club show, graduated to roles in such TV series as Young Hercules and Breaker High and made his film debut in 1997 in a forgettable movie called Frankenstein and Me. There had been no indication from his work at this point that the career of a dramatic actor was forming. What changed?
"The reality is, I was gift-wrapped a career by (director) Henry Bean, who gave me the opportunity to do this film, The Believer," says Gosling; he played an Orthodox Jew who becomes a neo-Nazi in that 2001 film.
"I couldn't even get an audition for The Believer or a movie like it, because of my past work, and yet after that film, all of a sudden, people were talking to me as if I were some serious person." He smiles.
"I tried to play that role for a while, because it felt good, but it wasn't something I knew, it was something I was pretending to be. Something you hope to be able to be. You know, you fake it till you make it."
And he made it. The Oscar nominee adds, "When I first started out, I was never really considered for leading roles, so I wired my brain to believe that if I was going to have a career, it would be as a character actor. It's only been in the last five years or whatever that it kind of opened up."
For his feature directorial debut, How to Catch a Monster, Gosling will work again with Eva Mendes. They are a couple in real life, too, although neither will discuss that relationship.
Is he nervous about his feature directorial debut?
"I'm not anymore," says Gosling. "I was until I got this cast, but the cast is so good, you can't mess that up."
He adds, "It's just that when you're a director, there's nowhere to hide. You're completely exposed. When you're the actor, you can say, 'Well, it's the character,' or, 'I didn't write it', or 'I didn't direct it, cut it, score it, I didn't make that poster.' You can hide behind a lot of things. Whereas as a filmmaker, you're responsible for everything.
"I guess," he says, "I didn't realize exactly how much you can tell about a filmmaker by their films."