As seen on screen

Ryan Gosling gets in touch with his role in ‘Pines’

 
 
Gosling
Gosling
Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

What’s Ryan Gosling’s secret to his on-screen poise, his ability to disarm and provoke merely by his laconic presence?

“Just try not to blink,” he says with a self-deprecating smile.

But Gosling’s uncanny, communicative stillness — along with his sensitive vulnerability, his dedication to his work and, well, the guy ain’t bad looking — has made him a big movie star, a widely beloved, new-generation idol. It might be the only role he’s uncomfortable playing.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press Gosling spoke more with the uncertain, self-critical grasping of a still-developing actor. Ironically, he’s looking forward to taking a step back just when moviegoers can’t get enough.

But first comes a new film, The Place Beyond the Pines, his second collaboration with director Derek Cianfrance ( Blue Valentine).

In Pines, which opens Friday, Gosling plays a tattooed motorbike rider in a traveling circus who, visiting an old fling (played by Gosling’s girlfriend, Eva Mendes), finds out he’s the father of her toddler, a discovery that prompts an awakening in him. His story composes the first section of a triptych connected by a violent incident that reverberates across generations.

“One thing that kind of handed me the key to the character was that I totally overdid it with the tattoos,” says Gosling, who has a teardrop inked beneath his left eye in the film. “I said to Derek, ‘I got to lose this face tattoo. It’s the worst. It’s so distracting and it’s going to ruin everything.’ And he said, ‘Well, I’m sure that’s how people with face tattoos feel. So now you have to pay the consequences of your actions.’ So I had to do the whole film with it and now see it on posters. It gave me a sense of shame that I feel was inherent to the character.”

Having started performing as an 8-year-old (coming from an Ontario, Canada, home of divorced, working-class Mormons), the 32-year-old Gosling considers himself an ensemble player and character actor.

“There’s a lot of pressure to be the lead of a film,” he says. “I have done it. It’s not my favorite way to work.”

Gosling’s break came in 2001’s The Believer, in which he played a neo-Nazi. A new level of fame came with The Notebook, the 2004 romance co-starring Rachel McAdams that made Gosling a bona fide heartthrob. Since then, he’s largely eschewed the conventional movie star path. Instead, he’s worked in naturalistic indies like Half Nelson (Oscar-nominated for his performance as an inner-city teacher) and the offbeat Lars and the Real Girl (as a delusional introvert with a life-size doll for a girlfriend).

He was atypically active in 2011, with three varied roles: an idealistic press secretary in Ides of March; a suave ladies’ man in Crazy, Stupid, Love; and a stoic getaway driver in Drive.

He says 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.”

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • The television scene

    ‘Game of Thrones’ stars visit Miami to talk fantasy

    When Game of Thrones hit HBO in 2011, readers of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series were easy converts. The violence, nudity and dragons quickly hooked the non-readers, too, helping the series pull in a record 6.6 million viewers for the Season 4 premiere last week.

  • Radar

    Hot stuff celebrities love

    Thin is in — always. Need a snack that isn't salt- or fat-filled? Nonni's ThinAddictives are a must for any health minded snacker's pantry or desk drawer. These wholesomely delish biscotti-like crunchers are way convenient, tidily wrapped in pre-portioned, 100-calorie freshness packs. Two new flavors, Banana Dark Chocolate and Blueberry Oat Almond, just got celebrity trainer/“Naked Fitness” author Andrea Metcalf’s A-OK. At Publix, Costco and www.nonnisfoods.com

  • Celebrity birthdays on April 20

    Actor George Takei is 77. Actor Ryan O’Neal is 73. Keyboardist Craig Frost of Grand Funk Railroad is 66. Actress Jessica Lange is 65. Actor Clint Howard is 55. Actor Crispin Glover is 50. Actor Andy Serkis is 50. Actress Carmen Electra is 42. Actor Joey Lawrence is 38. Multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band is 36.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category