Gosling often obsessively plunges into a character. For Lars, he lived with the doll. In Blue Valentine, he stayed in a house with his movie wife, Michelle Williams, for a month. For Pines, he mastered a motorbike, which he kept and still rides.
He grants that he tries to stay “hyper-focused” to shield him from the “seductive environment” of film sets. But he declines any Method acting mantle: “I don’t know what I’m doing,” he says. “I haven’t quite figured out what the balance is between being able to be lost in it – or try to, anyway – and then step outside of it.”
A self-declared “mama’s boy” having growing up with his mother (who home-schooled him) and sister, Gosling regularly inverts traditional movie masculinity for more vulnerable, conflicted portraits. He calls his muscly Pines character “a melting pot of all these masculine cliches” who, faced with a child, realizes “none of those things make a man.”
With his kind of consuming devotion, it’s little surprise that Gosling’s personal relationships often blur with his fictional ones. He’s had lengthy relationships with several of his co-stars, including McAdams, Sandra Bullock ( Murder By Numbers) and Mendes, who’ll also co-star in his first directing effort, How to Catch a Monster.
“Working with someone is the best way to get to know someone, especially if it’s a creative endeavor,” says Gosling. “When you work creatively with somebody, it’s very telling and you sort of fast-track with everyone.”