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In "The Notebook," Ryan Gosling plays a young man separated from his true love by her wealthy family and by World War II. Years later, after she's become engaged to another man, she stumbles upon his photo in the newspaper and decides to pay him a visit. MTV News' Ryan J. Downey questioned Gosling about crying, breaking up, and trying to live up to the man behind man's-man TV shows like "The Rockford Files" and "Maverick."

MTV: How does it feel knowing that you're making a movie that'll cause many women and some men to cry a lot?

Ryan Gosling: I don't know how to feel about that. Usually that's not a good thing, but I guess in this case it is.

MTV: Well, yeah. "Gigli" made a few people cry, but this is a good cry. Were you a fan of author Nicholas Sparks, who wrote the book this movie is based on?

Gosling: I wasn't really familiar with this genre of books at all, so I came into it fresh.

 Click here for Photos from "The Notebook"

MTV: The dialogue in this film was really believable, and the breakup scene is easily one of the most realistic ever seen in a movie. When she starts hitting you and you start hitting yourself, it's kind of jarring how much it's jumping out of an otherwise standard story. How much of that was on the page and how much was from you guys, the actors?

Gosling: Those sorts of things, like hitting myself and stuff, I don't know where that came from, that just sort of happened. But yeah ... I mean, look, it's dramatic when you're in it, you know? And it's [about] not being ashamed of that and then trying to sort of portray that honestly while you're doing it. There was a lot of room for our own interpretations in the film. Nick [Cassavetes, the director,] certainly has his opinions, and he's constantly pushing you, and we were pushing ourselves.

MTV: What do you think about the spirituality of the movie?

Gosling: I just sort of take it from a character perspective, and I don't know if he was necessarily spiritual, but I do think he had hope. He was a character that was comfortable having hope in his life, and hope is faith.

MTV: Now, you play the young Noah Calhoun, while James Garner plays the older Noah. Did you guys compare notes about how you were approaching the character so it'd be consistent?

Gosling: Let me tell you something about Jimmy Garner: When he comes on set, the women act like they're on drugs. It's like the Beatles just showed up — they act that crazy. He's his own thing; there's nobody like him. You know, he is James Garner. So there's no playing James Garner. It doesn't work, it's not gonna. I can't do that. I don't got that thing. I thought about it, but it just took me a minute to realize that there's no way, I'm going to do a bad copy of this guy. So I think we decided early on that I was going to be a character in the story and I wasn't going to be a young James because I couldn't be a young James. James is James.

MTV: What's up next for you?

Gosling: I did a film called "Stay," which Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts are in. It's cool. And Marc Forster, who did "Monster's Ball," directed it.

MTV: What's it about?

Gosling: Basically, this kid decides he's going to kill himself on his birthday and goes to his new therapist, who's Ewan McGregor, and tells him that, and Ewan has a couple days to stop the suicide. And as he sort of explores the character's life, his own realities start to come apart around him. It's hard to explain.

MTV: It sounds right in line with the kinds of roles you've been choosing for the past few years — like a Jewish anti-Semite in "The Believer" or a teenage murderer in "The United States of Leland." Do you purposely steer clear of the easier jobs?

Gosling: I just have my own taste and I just try and stick with that. I'm just trying to play as many characters as I can for as long as I have an opportunity to.

Check out everything we've got on "The Notebook" here.

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Photo: Melissa Moseley/New Line Productions

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