Ryan Gosling Interviewed – FRACTURE

     April 3, 2007

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m altering how I present the interviews I do here on Collider. Rather than making you read the entire thing and look for the golden nugget or two, I’m going to start every interview off with the highlight or highlights. Of course the interview can still be read in it’s entirety and perhaps my highlights aren’t your highlights…

So while the interview with Ryan Gosling covers all the usual things, the highlight (for me) was when he answered about his upcoming project Lars and the Real Girl:

Yeah, it’s this film that I did and it comes out in October, and it’s about a man who falls in love with a doll, a sex doll. It’s really beautiful I think love story about their relationship, and in a way it’s probably closer to The Notebook than anything I’ve done.

Anytime they make a movie about someone falling in love with a sex doll you’ll get my attention.

But since he was there to talk about his role in Fracture, here is the studio provided synopsis:

Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling star in the dramatic thriller Fracture. When a meticulous structural engineer (Hopkins) is found innocent of the attempted murder of his wife (Embeth Davidtz), the young district attorney (Gosling) who is prosecuting him becomes a crusader for justice. Fracture is packed with twists and turns that weave in and out of the courtroom as the pair try to outwit each other.

Ryan talked about all the usual things – what’s it like to work with a hero (Anthony Hopkins), what are you working on next, what’s his process for finding future material, etc… If you’re a fan of Ryan you’ll like the interview.

And even though I don’t have enough time to transcribe the interview I did with Rosamund Pike, I wanted to offer it as an audio download here. You might recognize her as a former Bond girl and she’s also been in a Pride &amp Prejudice, Doom and The Libertine.

If you’d like to listen to the interview with Ryan click here. It’s an MP3 and easily put on a portable player.

Once again all interviews were done in roundtable form – meaning a few of us were in a room taking turns asking questions.

Fracture comes out on April 20th

So who’s more intimidating, Shareeka or Anthony?

Ohhh, hard choice. Anthony is intimidating for different reasons than I thought. He’s so good. In a way, he’s the warmest – I don’t know if you met him – a really loving guy, and he’s so prolific. He paints, he’s a composer, he directs and he’s about to go direct a movie that he wrote when he was starring in this and he’s still doing his paintings. He never stops. He sits there and he’s doodling while he’s talking to you. It’s the most incredible doodle you’ve ever seen. He goes to his trailer for five minutes, he comes back and his hands are covered with paint and he’s ready to shoot. He just never stops – he’s this creative force. That’s inspiring and intimidating at the same time.

Does he stay in character in between shots or no, he just kind of pulls out of that?

It’s so easy for him at this point.

I read where he barked like a dog?

(laughs) He did. I don’t know if I can explain it. I don’t think Anthony when things get too serious and he doesn’t like when people start taking everything so seriously and I’m certainly a victim of that. So if everything got a little too important, he would start barking. And the thing about when he barks, it’s like everything he does in his life, he does it great. He sounds exactly like a dog. You can just about tell the breed.

You stayed in character and is that something that for you, feels more comfortable staying like that?

I think about it too much. As far as staying in character, I know a lot of actors talk about being in character and taking it home, but I don’t think that’s how it feels it happens for me. I think you are all of your characters in some way and you just turn up the parts of you that are then and you turn down the parts of you who aren’t and it’s just a tuning process really.

But this guy goes through an unusual arc because he’s smug and arrogant and insufferable in the beginning and then 2/3 of the way in, he’s really starting to unravel.

Yeah, that’s why I liked him because first of all, he reminds me of agents I met – you’re not really sure if they’re faking their accents or not, you can’t really know where they’re coming from. And he’s supposed to be the good guy in the movie, but he’s not really that good. He’s not a good guy. He’s not bad and as long as he’s not bad, that’s good enough for him. Doing the right thing is kind of a pain in the ass. It’s not in his nature to be heroic, or to be good or to do the right thing. He leans more towards the narcissistic, self-serving, selfish side of things. And he never really quite changes. He’s just put in a position where if he lets this woman for a promotion, he’s officially going to be someone he doesn’t want to be so he actively not be that person, but he’s constantly doing the bare minimum. I found that interesting in this genre to have a character like that who’s not virtuous.

Was it hard to get your mind around this character? I know Rosamund said she found it very hard to even understand her character. Did you find it hard to get into this character and his wants and needs?

Well, it’s ambition. I have my ambitions as well and can transpose it onto his, but different, but I could see if you stay in this town long enough, how you can turn into that, you know. I struggle with that as well.

I read you were living in a tent when you read this script?

It’s a long story and I don’t want to bore you with it. I did spend a lot of time in a tent at one point at which point I read this script.

You’ve got to tell us why you were living in a tent.

Honestly, it’s too long a story. Maybe I’ll tell you one day.

You’ve obviously gone from big movie, to small movie – Half Nelson, again, was phenomenal. Is that the kind of movie you like or do you like these big movies with major studios? Which is more comfortable for you?

I like all kinds of movies. I love movies. I like this genre of movie although I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of good ones lately and I always wanted to try and make one. And I thought you couldn’t have had a better partner than Anthony Hopkins, you know, so for me at this point in my career, it was a really big opportunity to work with Anthony. He’s a master and to watch a master work I felt was really important. And with Half Nelson, I like making movies like that and probably will always go back to that. I think it’s easier to make a better movie when they’re smaller just because you have less people watching so when you go and make a big movie, you have to feel like you have a good team. Like Greg made Primal Fear and Anthony is Anthony and you have David Strathairn and Rosamund and Cliff Curtis and all these great actors and it’s good because you think, it’s possible. I try not to discriminate against budget because there’s so little good material out there anyway that if I focus myself on one world, I’ll never work, so I have to do the best with what’s out there no matter if it’s big or small.

I’d like to know when you first met Anthony, what was that like, and when you first actually rehearsed with him. It says in here you almost consider him a hero of yours and I just wondered, is that hard to even just look at him and pretend he’s somebody else?

Yeah it is. I mean I did more acting in trying to pretend that I wasn’t enjoying what Anthony was doing. (laugh). It’s hard to be in scenes with him and you’re sitting there and he’s being so good but you just want to watch him as if he was in a movie and then you have to remind yourself ‘no you’re in this film too.’ I would laugh at stuff he was doing and go ha ha, great! But not great, you’re a bad guy. So that was hard and I found that really difficult plus I was taking acting notes at the same time. I was trying to break down why he’s so great and thought if I could be there on set, and could watch it happen, I’d be able to figure it out, but it’s just that he’s great, there’s no real secret to it.

Did you discover his weak spot? I mean, the film is about finding a chink – that fracture in the armor?

I didn’t.

Oh, I was going to ask if there was a characteristic or two that you had not known and that you got out of him, but that’s kind of the same thing.

One thing that I did learn is that a lot of people when they make movies, the actors act like it’s their journey and that everyone is on the set to facilitate their journey and the whole thing is set up that way – they ask if you want anything, what you need and everyone is there to help you so you feel that everyone is there for you. Tony has this great way of making everyone feel like we’re making this movie together, this is a collaboration, he’s very inclusive, he’s not really private or precious with his process…he puts it out on the table and anyone can pick it up and try like a Rubik’s cube, try and work it out. And I think that, for me, it was great. At this point in my career to see somebody work like that.

He’s very laid back. Many a time, he’s told reporters that well, I learn my lines, I go to work, I speak then and I go home.

Yeah well he’s a genius so it’s probably true.

Getting back to your career choices, how many so-called mainstream big films have you been offered that you’ve turned down?

I feel lucky that I have a healthy mix of both of what I get offered. I try and create situations for myself where I have as many options as possible because I never know how I’m going to feel at that time and what I’m going to need to do so I don’t want to be limited.

If it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza versus a Half Nelson, truthfully, where would you go?

I don’t know. What Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza are you talking about? Are we talking about Top Gun?

Oh you always wanted to be Tom Cruise.

I did a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, Remember The Titans, and I liked that movie. It was a football movie.

Did you do any legal research at all or did you think you didn’t need to know that to play this guy?

I did the normal things. I went to courts and watched trials, met with lawyers, met with some lawyers, and this is really interesting, who had been involved with these really high profile cases where we all know that they did it, and we know that they did it, and they defended them anyway. And just trying to understand that, how one justifies that.

Were you trying to figure out at the same time your character was trying to figure out how you could figure out…

What you’re saying? (laughs)

When you were reading the script, were you trying to figure out what your character was trying to figure if he did it?

I’m confused. I mean there are so many twists and turns in this movie that I just tried to, and it was hard because you sort of have to as a storyteller, a part of you has to know what’s happening, when. You have to kind of map it out a little bit in a movie like this. But again, I don’t really know because I’ve never done a film like this and I don’t feel like I’ve mastered it at all. It’s totally different from anything that I’ve done because it’s so plot driven. And everything else I’ve done, it’s not. There’s so much more room in it for other things and this is just about this journey that the characters are on and these twists and turns. Basically Anthony puts a ring in his nose and pulls him around for 2 hours. So I tried to just let that happen.

Are there other courtroom dramas that you’ve really enjoyed in the past?

Yeah, I like the genre. I think it’s interesting, I also think that the real thing is interesting as well, if you watch Court TV or something, it’s like natural theatre. I like the fact that a lot of them are kind of bad actors if they were better they might not be lawyers, they might be actors.

Do you watch a lot of the Judge Judy –

Yeah, I love that show. My dog loves Judge Joe Brown for some reason, I don’t know why but every time he comes on he really relaxes.

What’s your process of getting scripts, does your agent filter out stuff, are you reading scripts every day? How involved are you in the process?

I try to read everything, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is. I have a lot of people helping me too, people whose taste I really trust. Like I’ve been working with one woman since I was 14 and she just really knows the kind of thing that I’m going to dig. Also there are so little good things out there that it’s not hard to sift through. They stand out like a sore thumb. Something like Half Nelson comes around its really obvious, because you’re not reading anything like that.

Can you tell us something about Lars and the Real Girl?

Yeah, it’s this film that I did and it comes out in October, and it’s about a man who falls in love with a doll, a sex doll. It’s really beautiful I think love story about their relationship, and in a way it’s probably closer to The Notebook than anything I’ve done.

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Have you found since your Oscar nomination that you’re getting different types of scripts, more scripts – has it changed your life at all?

It has, you know, I get asked that question more often. I think there’s a lot more opportunities now than there was, but I think also with those opportunities comes a certain responsibility to do the most with those opportunities. I mean, in a way it’s like when you only have one option when you’re starting out, it’s easy because you take that option. But when you have a lot of them you really have to make sure that that option is going to give you more opportunities or take you in the direction that you want to go.

You don’t have to answer exactly where, but do you live in downtown L.A.?

Yeah.


I saw a thing with you before the Oscars where you were taking some reporter around – do you just dig the old buildings or the feeling of downtown?

Yeah, I’ve lived all over. I think it’s interesting to watch a city develop. I’ve been involved or been able to watch this kind of ‘gentrification.’ And I love and hate it, I think it’s kind of fascinating thing to be a part of and to watch happen.

What other things do you have coming up? Are you filming something right now?

I’m not, I have a film that I’m working on myself, other than that, just looking.

What’s the film you’re working on?

I wrote a film that I’m going to try and direct, hopefully by the end of the year.

Is there a title?

Yeah, it’s called The Lord’s Resistance and it’s about the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda and the conflict in the north, the 20 year conflict, and the war affected children and child soldiers.

Did you write it yourself?

Yeah.

How much research did you do? How long did it take you?

It took me – it’s been a couple of years process, and I just was there a month ago doing some more research, shooting some B rolls, getting ready, obviously as you can imagine it’s a hard film to put together.

And studios love this kind of film.

Yeah, right, everyone’s banging down my door.

It is such a different direction for you, is that something that you’ve always wanted to do?

Direct?

Direct something like that, so serious, rather than something, not lighter, but not –

It just felt like – it’s not like I’ve always wanted to direct something, I just heard this story and I was in Darfur, well the Darfur refugee camps in Chad about two years ago, and I was shooting a little piece of a documentary and I think like anybody that goes to Africa, that experience doesn’t leave you, especially those kids, and I started to learn about child soldiers and then this phenomenon of night commuters in Uganda, and the more I learned about it the more I couldn’t believe it, and I felt like it was some kind of Grimm Brothers story or something.

They kidnap the kids, don’t they?

Yeah, 30,000 kids in the last 20 years. 1.5 million people misplaced from their homes. It’s one of the bloodiest conflicts in Africa’s history and they’re famous for them. And it’s still going on, and has been going on in plain view of everybody and it’s involving children, children fighting children and children killing their own parents, little girls being made sex slaves and it’s gruesome, and I just heard that story and I thought that it was something that I wanted to try and tell.

Would you shoot it there? You go there, isn’t it dangerous?

It is, but the time that I went there were peace talks, so I think it was a safe visit as it had been in 20 years

Do you play an active role in things like Darfur?

Not really, I’m not involved with any specific –

Not like Clooney

No, not like Clooney, I just have a personal interest.

This director uses more cameras and does less takes, is that right?

I don’t know about less takes, but he does more cameras.

Was his style a little different for you, did you like or dislike it?

It’s different, I like to try new things, so for me it was a whole different world to come into, it’s a big movie, lots of cameras, all this stuff, and it was interesting to try find a way to navigate through that. Greg’s really like a kid, he’s still excited about making movies, he sits in front of the monitor like this all the time, and he’s thrilled to be there and it’s really fun to be around that kind of energy.

Was there any adlibbing – when Anthony Hopkins goes like with the tie –

First of all, you never know what Anthony’s going to do. He doesn’t, is he behind me?

That was funny when you did (the tie bit) back to him at the end.

That was something that was in the script, but there are lots of things that weren’t. Also Anthony, just like every time he does a take he does it completely different, he says the lines but it’s amazing how many takes on one line that he can have.

Give us a question for your fellow cast members that they might not be expecting. Something that would get a nice little reaction out of them.

Ask them if they had a weak spot, what would it be.

Don’t you have a restaurant?

I do, yeah. Have you been there?

Yeah, it was very good.

If you liked it, it’s getting better. Oh yeah.

You might as well plug it

It’s called Tagine. It’s on Robertson and Wilshire. 132 North Robertson, it’s a Moroccan restaurant.

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