Ryan Gosling interview: His definition of manhood, why John Hughes movies make him crave violence, and why his doctor…

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July 25 2011 10:28 AM

Questions for Ryan Gosling

His definition of manhood, why John Hughes movies make him crave violence, and why his doctor told him to make a comedy after filming Blue Valentine.

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Slate: What was your brain space like after shooting that?

Gosling: I didn't really know what to do next. It was so immersive that it kind of became my life and we had to acclimate, resurface, and this came along. And it was just what the doctor ordered.

Slate: Blue Valentine was almost entirely improvisational.Was there any improv in Crazy, Stupid, Love, or was it all scripted?

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Gosling: There was a lot of improv in this. A lot of it was scripted, too, but the directors would ask us. For example, in the scene where Emma comes over to my character's house and we do the whole Dirty Dancing move, you know, we have a whole night together where we bond, without bonding physically. That was mostly improvised.

Slate: Another new film you are in, Drive, was such a huge hit at Cannes. From everything I've read, it sounds like you had a deep connection with director Nicolas Winding Refn. Is a collaborative environment important for you when you're choosing your projects?

Gosling: For me it's important. I need to know, why does this filmmaker want to make this film? But for instance, with Nicolas, I thought he'd be the right director at first. But we had this awful first date where we had nothing to say, and we didn't really look at one another, and it was one of those terrible experiences, so I kind of got the check early and he told me he needed a ride home. I was stuck giving him a ride out to Santa Monica. So I drove him out there and he didn't talk, so I turned on the radio, and REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore" came on, and he started crying and singing this song at the top of his lungs. And he said: "This is the movie. It's about a guy who drives around listening to pop music." And that's secretly what I had been feeling, so he voiced it and knew that it was right. But I never would have made that film if REO Speedwagon hadn't come on the radio.

Slate: Do you know why he started crying? I don't know if anyone has had that reaction to an REO Speedwagon song before.

Gosling: You show me someone who hasn't cried to that song, and I'll show you a liar.

Slate: I watched this interview where you were talking about Drive, and you said that 16 Candles was the perfect film, but the only thing missing was a head smash, which was included in Drive. Could you elaborate on that?

Gosling: I just sort of feel like John Hughes movies are perfect, but they're missing violence. If they just had some violence, they'd be perfect.

Slate: What violence would you have had included in 16 Candles? Would you have Molly Ringwald's character punch her sister in the face?

Gosling: I don't know specifically what scenes I'd like to see violence in—I crave violence when I'm watching a John Hughes movie. So we tried to create that in this film.

Slate: I can't wait to see that.

Gosling: It's like blood and cotton candy.

Slate: Together.

Gosling: At last.

This interview has been condensed and edited.