Ryan Gosling – Child star turned cult hero

Ryan Gosling started out at an early age. He appeared alongside Justin Timberlake in ‘The All New Mickey Mouse Club’, and even lived with the successful singer and his family for two years while shooting the show. Ryan also played Hercules in the TV show ‘Young Hercules’, as well as one of the lead characters in ‘Breaker High’. Although those credits might evoke nostalgia amongst a certain generation, it was at the turn of the century that Ryan Gosling really started showing off his on-screen talent.

Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling eating and drinking

In 2000, Ryan Gosling starred in the Boaz Yakin-directed movie ‘Remember the Titans’, which also starred Denzel Washington, Will Patton and ‘Sons of Anarchy’ favorite Ryan Hurst. One year later, Ryan Gosling proved himself as a very promising young actor playing the lead role in ‘The Believer’. Here, Gosling plays the character of a Jewish-raised member of the KKK, a movie based on a true story. The movie is a powerful one, and the Canadian-born actor earned a couple of award nominations and wins for his brilliant display. Only 21 years old, Gosling had caught the eyes of filmmakers, and slowly started getting more parts in upcoming movies. Whereas his co-stars on the Mickey Mouse Club had focused on the music industry, Gosling had gone in a completely different direction.

The Believer Trailer

Although his next movies ‘Murder By Numbers’, ‘Stay’ and ‘United States of Leland’ aren’t exactly film classics, his performances were still solid, especially in the latter. In both the previously mentioned ‘The Believer’ and in ‘United States of Leland’ we can see early indications of the actor we now have become quite familiar with. That is, an actor who is not afraid of taking on challenging parts, and one who seems to be more tempted by the character of a movie and its story then by its budget. ‘The Notebook’ furthered helped his reputation as an up-and-coming actor, and had the highest-grossing opening Weekend for his movies as a leading man up until then. (‘Remember the Titans’ had a bigger opening Weekend, but Ryan Gosling was only a supporting actor in that movie).

Ryan Gosling in 'Half Nelson'
Ryan Gosling in ‘Half Nelson’

Jump two years ahead, and Ryan Gosling earns his first Academy Award-nomination. Arguably one of his best performances was that of his character Dan Dunne in ‘Half Nelson’. This movie, one of Ryan Gosling’s low-budget flicks, tells the story of a junior high school teacher with a drug habit. A wonderful performance, and well worth watching. His scenes with young actress Shareeka Epps are great. Only a year later he showed off some of his comic skills (although a dramatic role as a whole) as Lars in ‘Lars and the Real Girl’. This movie is the definition of how a film can be a great movie despite how weird and stupid it’s premises seem. Honestly, a movie about a guy buying a sex doll on the internet and believing she is real doesn’t strike me as a first-choice when going to the movies. However, the film is a wonderful piece of art, and it makes you smile, cry and laugh out loud. One of my favorite scenes is a ridiculously well-played scene where Lars tries to escape from the advances of a girl who has a liking for him. I’m always impressed by his eyes for details, such as his awkward moves as his finds his path of escape blocked by a car:

Ryan Gosling in 'Lars and the Real Girl'
Ryan Gosling in a very awkward and funny scene from ‘Lars and the Real Girl’

In 2010 director Derek Cianfrance directed his first feature movie, and to me this is still one of the best movies of the last couple of years. It’s a painful, yet somehow beautiful story to watch, and both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were perfect for their parts. I am a huge fan of Natalie Portman, but I still feel Michelle Williams was snubbed for the Oscar that year. The fact that Ryan Gosling wasn’t even nominated is just a travesty. Their portrayal of a relationship both at it’s best and worst is charming and ugly. I was also amazed to learn how one of my favorite scenes from the movie (the one on the bridge) was pretty much all improvised, as the director gave them both different directions to see how the would “solve” the scene. They couldn’t have solved it better than they did…

Blue Valentine Trailer

With ‘Drive’, Ryan Gosling cemented himself as one of the best actors of his generation, and his stellar performances in the comedy ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ and the political thriller ‘The Ides of March’, he once again showed his versatility. ‘Drive’, this dark, slowly-paced and non-dialouge-driven movie is already a cult favorite.

Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling picking a guitar

Adding to his talents as an actor – and especially his roles in ‘Drive’ and ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ – the fact that he also has a kick-ass band – Dead Man’s Bones – goes a long way in explaining why this Gosling guy has become a favorite both with the guys and the gals. Oh, and he also cares about animals, and seems like a really cool dude.

Dead Man’s Bones – In the Room Where You Sleep


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