Born: November 12, 1980 (age 36)
Height: 1.84m (6ft)
Known For: The Notebook (2004), Blue Valentine (2010), Crazy, Stupid Love (2011), Drive (2011), The Idles of March (2011), The Place Beyond The Pines (2012), Gangster Squad (2013), The Big Short (2015), La La Land (2016), The Nice Guys (2016), Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)
Ryan Gosling was born London, Canada. Gosling was educated at Gladstone Public School. As a child, he watched Dick Tracy and was inspired to become an actor. He “hated” being a child, was bullied in elementary school and had no friends until he was “14 or 15”. In the first grade, having been heavily influenced by the action film First Blood, he took steak knives to school and threw them at other children during recess. This incident led to a suspension. He was unable to read and was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), prescribed Ritalin, and placed in a class for special-needs students. Consequently, his mother quit her job and homeschooled him for a year. Gosling has said that homeschooling gave him “a sense of autonomy that I’ve never really lost”. Gosling performed in front of audiences from an early age, encouraged by his sister being a performer. He and his sister sang together at weddings; he performed with Elvis Perry, his uncle’s Elvis Presley tribute act, and was involved with a local ballet company. Performing boosted his self-confidence as it was the only thing he received praise for. He developed an idiosyncratic accent because, as a child, he thought having a Canadian accent did not sound “tough”. He began to model his accent on that of Marlon Brando. He dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to focus on his acting career.
Child Actor (1993-1999)
In 1993, at the age of 12, Gosling attended an open audition in Montreal for a revival of Disney Channel‘s Mickey Mouse Club. He was given a two-year contract as a mouseketeer and moved to Orlando, Florida. He appeared on-screen infrequently because other children were considered more talented. Nonetheless, he has described the job as the greatest two years of his life. Fellow cast members included Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Gosling has credited the experience with instilling in them “this great sense of focus.” He became particularly close friends with Timberlake and they lived together for six months during the second year of the show. Timberlake’s mother became Gosling’s legal guardian after his mother returned to Canada for work reasons. Gosling has said that, even though he and Timberlake are no longer in touch, they are still supportive of each other. Following the show’s cancellation in 1995, Gosling returned to Canada and continued to appear in family entertainment television series including Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1995), Goosebumps (1996) and starred in Breaker High (1997–98) as Sean Hanlon. At the age of 18, he moved to New Zealand to film the Fox Kids adventure series Young Hercules (1998–99) as the title character.
Early Film Career (2000-2003)
At the age of nineteen, Gosling decided to move into “serious acting”. He was dropped by his agent and initially found it difficult to secure work because of the “stigma” attached to children’s television. After a supporting role in the football drama Remember the Titans, Gosling secured a lead role as a young Jewish neo-Nazi in 2001’s The Believer. Director Henry Bean said he cast Gosling because his Mormon upbringing helped him understand the isolation of Judaism.
In 2002, Gosling co-starred in the psychological thriller Murder by Numbers with Sandra Bullock and Michael Pitt, where Gosling and Pitt portrayed a pair of high school seniors who believe they can commit the perfect murder. Bullock played the detective tasked with investigating the crime. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly described him as “a phenomenal talent even in junk like this” while Todd McCarthy of Variety felt that the “strong and “charismatic” young actors were “let down by the screenplay”. The film was a minor commercial success, grossing $56 million worldwide from a production budget of $50 million. His second screen appearance of 2002 was in The Slaughter Rule with David Morse which explores the relationship between a high school football player and his troubled coach in rural Montana. Gosling has said that the opportunity to work with Morse made him “a better actor.”
Gosling came to the attention of a mainstream audience in 2004 after starring opposite fellow Canadian Rachel McAdams in the romantic drama film The Notebook, a film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks‘ novel of the same name, directed by Nick Cassavetes. Gosling portrayed Noah Calhoun and commented on the role: “It gave me an opportunity to play a character over a period of time – from 1940 to 1946 – that was quite profound and formative.” Gosling sought to imbue his character with “quiet strength” and was inspired by the performance of Sam Shepard in Days of Heaven. Shepard co-starred in The Notebook. Filming took place in Charleston, South Carolina, in late 2002 and early 2003. Although Gosling and McAdams became romantically involved in 2005, they had a combative relationship on the set. “We inspired the worst in each other,” Gosling has said.
Gosling next starred in 2006’s Half Nelson as a drug-addicted junior high school teacher who forms a bond with a young student. To prepare for the role, Gosling moved to New York for one month before shooting began. He lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn and spent time shadowing an eighth grade teacher. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described “a mesmerizing performance … that shows the kind of deep understanding of character few actors manage.” Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle drew comparisons with Marlon Brando and declared that “nobody who cares about great acting will want to miss his performance”. Roger Ebert felt the performance “proves he’s one of the finest actors working in contemporary movies.” He was nominated for an Academy Award.
Widespread Recognition (2010-2012)
Following a three-year absence from the big screen, Gosling starred in five movies in 2010 and 2011. “I’ve never had more energy,” Gosling has said. “I’m more excited to make films than I used to be. I used to kind of dread it. It was so emotional and taxing. But I’ve found a way to have fun while doing it. And I think that translates into the films.” He has also spoken of feeling depressed when not working. In 2010, he co-starred with Michelle Williams in Derek Cianfrance’s directorial debut, the marital drama Blue Valentine. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
2011 saw Gosling expand his horizons by appearing in three diverse, high-profile roles. He co-starred in his first comedic role in the romantic comedy-drama Crazy, Stupid, Love, with Steve Carell and Emma Stone. Gosling took cocktail-making classes at a Los Angeles bar in preparation for his role as a smooth-talking ladies’ man. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Gosling portrayed a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a getaway driver and he has described the film as a “violent John Hughes movie”: “I always thought if Pretty in Pink had head-smashing it would be perfect”. Roger Ebert compared Gosling to Steve McQueen and stated that he “embodies presence and sincerity … he has shown a gift for finding arresting, powerful characters [and] can achieve just about anything.
In his final appearance of 2011, Gosling co-starred with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the political drama The Ides of March directed by George Clooney, in which he played an ambitious press secretary. Gosling partly decided to do the film to become more politically aware: “I’m Canadian and so American politics aren’t really in my wheelhouse.” He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
At The Top Of His Game (2012-2017)
In 2013’s Gangster Squad, a crime thriller, Gosling portrayed Sgt. Jerry Wooters, a 1940s LAPD officer who attempts to outsmart mob boss Mickey Cohen (played by Sean Penn). He was reunited with Emma Stone as his love interest, after their earlier pairing in Crazy, Stupid Love. Stone has said she hopes they will find more projects to work together on. A.O. Scott of The New York Times described the film as an excuse for the cast “to earn some money trying out funny voices and suppressing whatever sense of nuance they might possess.”
In The Place Beyond the Pines, a generational drama directed by Blue Valentine’s Derek Cianfrance, Gosling portrayed Luke, a motorcycle stunt rider who robs banks to provide for his family. The shoot was described by Gosling as “the best experience I have ever had making a film.”
In early 2013, Gosling announced that he was taking a break from acting, stating,“I’ve lost perspective on what I’m doing. I think it’s good for me to take a break and reassess why I’m doing it and how I’m doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that.” Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The “fantasy noir”, written by Gosling, stars Christina Hendricks, Ben Mendelsohn, and Matt Smith.
n 2015, he played a bond salesman in the financial drama The Big Short, a Best Picture nominee at the 2016 Academy Awards. David Sims of The Atlantic felt he was “smarmily funny, somehow simultaneously magnetic and repulsive; after years wandering the halls of mediocre art cinema, it’s wonderful to see him cut loose again.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said: “Gosling, a virtuoso of verbal sleaze, talks directly to the camera, and he’s volcanically fierce and funny.”
In 2016, Gosling starred in the dark detective comedy The Nice Guys, opposite Russell Crowe, and in the musical comedy La La Land, for which he received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Gosling also filmed an appearance in the upcoming Terrence Malick film Song to Song. The film’s co-stars Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Haley Bennett, Val Kilmer and Michael Fassbender. When asked to provide details of the film or his role, Gosling replied, “I can’t comment. A ‘Chatty Cathy’ that one.” Gosling had previously signed on to work with Malick in 2004 on the biographical film Che. However, Malick left the project to direct The New World and Gosling later dropped out with scheduling conflicts. It has been announced that Gosling will play an undisclosed role in the sequel to Blade Runner, which began filming in early July 2016. Harrison Ford also stars in Blade Runner: 2049.