In a comic song at last year's Academy Awards, Will Ferrell mocked Ryan Gosling as being all "hip and now." But there's a better way to describe the 26-year-old actor — just darn good.
Already known for a somewhat eclectic filmography, Gosling takes a step over the edge with "Lars and the Real Girl," a quirky flick, due October 12, about an introvert who orders a "Real Girl" sex doll over the Internet, only to parade her around town as his living girlfriend Bianca.
In a recent sit-down with MTV News, Gosling talked "Lars," what he plans on doing to Ferrell, and why you'll never see him in a comic book movie.
MTV: We wanted to compliment you on the hall-of-fame mustache you sport in "Lars and the Real Girl."
Ryan Gosling: A lot of creepy guys gravitate toward the mustache: Hitler, Mussolini, Lars.
MTV: Yeah, creepy but kinda sweet and harmless. Very much like the movie.
Gosling: The script did an amazing job of walking that line. I mean, you don't want it to be funny [and] you don't want it to be too serious. The only thing we could compare it to was a Hal Ashby film, something like "Harold and Maude" or "Being There." Also, I think for me the film has the spirit of a Gene Wilder performance in it. Gene Wilder is kind of my Marlon Brando — he can make you laugh and break your heart in the same moment. We tried to sort of harness that in some way.
MTV: Of course you're helped by the best actress we've seen this year: Bianca. Can you talk about what it was like working alongside such a fantastic female lead?
Gosling: [He laughs.] Bianca, she has a real calming presence. It was pretty interesting, actually — in the film people find themselves gravitating towards her, and a lot of people think that's conceptually a funny idea, but it's actually quite true. All of the crew, you'd see them off talking to her in the corner. The focus puller [the member of a film crew responsible for keeping the camera's focus], he'd apologize if he got too close to her eye. She had handlers that gave her magazines in between takes. They call it a blowup doll in some of the advertisements, but it's very different. I mean, Bianca had these beautiful little freckles on her face! They have this real sort of presence.
MTV: At the end of the day, though, they're sex dolls. But not for Lars.
Gosling: I think it might be progressing to that place, but maybe not until marriage. [He laughs.] He's quite an innocent in a way. He has all this romantic love to give — it's not dissimilar from a kid and his teddy bear, the idea that kids love their teddy bear and they experience very important moments in their life with them when they're young. It's a very complicated relationship.
MTV: We love the scene, the most romantic scene in the movie, when you're serenading her.
Gosling: That wasn't written. The idea was just that Lars and Bianca were going to go into the forest, and he had to expose himself in some way or make himself vulnerable — not expose himself in that way! — but expose himself in an emotional way. So we were trying to think of something that would make me feel pretty vulnerable, and so we thought of singing.
MTV: You could give all your old Mickey Mouse Club co-stars a run for their money.
Gosling: [He laughs.] Well, that's your opinion. I'm flattered, thank you.
MTV: We heard that you actually moved into Lars' garage.
Gosling: Oh, yeah. I mean, not for a long time. You never know if those things are going to work, but you try.
MTV: You learned something from that?
Gosling: I'm not sure that I did! If you're an actor without a method, you're kind of always scrambling for anything that might help you in some way. So you try all kinds of crazy things to help give you a little bit of insight.
MTV: In what way do you think your life has most changed since your Oscar nomination?
Gosling: Well, I get a lot of free stuff now. I get sent a lot of free stuff — for girls, mostly. My mother and sister are really happy about that.
MTV: I ask because the highlight of the Oscar telecast last year was that great song by Will Ferrell — he totally called you out. Is a fight between the two of you in the works?
Gosling: [He laughs.] I don't think I would fare very well. He runs marathons, doesn't he? He seems squirrelly, that Will Ferrell. I'm not sure I could get my hands on him.
MTV: You've never even really done the comic book-action, running-around-with-a-gun kind of role. Is that something you'd like to do one day?
Gosling: I never really read comic books actually, so it's not really a genre I'm familiar with. [But] I don't know if anyone would have me as a comic book hero. It's never really come across my path.
MTV: Why not? I'd go and see you as Batman.
Gosling: Yeah, but you'd go for the wrong reasons. You'd ... watch me go play Batman and laugh.
MTV: You're working with Peter Jackson on "The Lovely Bones.") If not Batman, then how about the Hobbit?
Gosling: [He laughs.] I'm a bit tall to be a Hobbit. But [Jackson is] my kind of nuts. It's exciting to work with somebody that will take those kinds of risks.
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