Though still quite young, Ryan Gosling has managed to resist the temptation of Hollywood. He has remained true to himself and has continued to deliver great performances.
Ryan Gosling is deeply committed to his craft. His focus appears not to rely on success in terms of finances but rather, in regards to artistic merit. This is clearly indicated by his choice of film roles. He rarely selects films that are typical of Hollywood and instead focus on smaller, deeply intimate films which help to reveal his many talents according to Imdb.com.
As a result, Gosling challenges himself to deliver complex and enigmatic performances in each one of his films. His roles are abstract and the films are low-key but yet he manages to deliver astounding performances time and time again.
The Early Days of Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling was born on November 12, 1980, in London, Ontario, Canada. The second of two children, Gosling grew up in a strict religious family. However, religion was never pushed upon him by his parents and he was left to pursue life uninhibited. As a result, his choices were his and his alone.
However, turmoil was taking its toll within the Gosling household and eventually culminated with his parent’s divorce. As time progressed, Ryan found himself struggling to fit in at school and thus became involved in numerous fights with fellow classmates. Never one to back down, Gosling would be involved in numerous altercations on the school grounds and eventually was removed from school by his mother (who proceeded to teach him herself). In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gosling admitted: “I’d pick on the toughest guys because the girls liked them. So if I beat them up the girls would like me. But it never worked”. This desire to go after what he wanted would certainly be crucial to his role as an actor in Hollywood in the near future.
Gosling got his first break at stardom in 1993 when he beat out thousands of others for the chance to be a show regular on the Mickey Mouse Club. Though his time there was brief, Gosling went on to appear in many Canadian produced television shows such as “Are You Afraid of the Dark” and “Breaker High”. After appearing on an episode of “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, Gosling landed the role of young Hercules on the show “Young Hercules” which lasted for two seasons (1998-99).
The Later Days
Growing weary of his relegation as a teen actor, Ryan matured greatly when he took on the role of a Jewish man who develops an anti-Semitic world view in the film “The Believer” (2001). Tense and disturbing (even more so since it was based on a true story), Gosling’s performance was fuelled by a dedication to truly bring life to this unlovable but confused character (Gosling was nominated for numerous awards for his performance).
As time progressed, Gosling would move on to play a scheming and manipulative killer in “Murder by Numbers” (2002) with Sandra Bullock and an apparent child murderer in “The United States of Leland” (2003) with Don Cheadle. However, his breakthrough role came in 2004 when he was cast along Rachel McAdams in the tender love story entitled “The Notebook”. Budgeted at 30 million dollars, the film went on to gross over 80 million and make instant stars out of Gosling and McAdams.
Gosling soon became a sex symbol and even better (for Hollywood) became an instant celebrity. However, Gosling refused to sell out to the Hollywood system. Consequently, he came to be defined as an actor who showed greater interest in art rather than commerce. This personal creed has continued to fuel his creative decisions.
After his big break, Gosling could have pursued anything but he chose to perform in the mind-bending film, “Stay” (2005) with Ewan Mcgregor. Though the film was a box office failure, he still refused Hollywood’s attempt to control his destiny. He was eventually rewarded for his passion when he landed the role of Dan Dunne in “Half Nelson” (2006). Dan, a teacher, vows to help one of his troubled younger students succeed while simultaneously battling his own drug addiction. His performance consequently garnered him an Academy Award nomination and the respect from his peers he so adamantly desired (He became the second-youngest male ever to be nominated for Best Actor-Only John Travolta was younger for his role in Saturday Night Fever (1977)).
Granted, Gosling did go on to appear in the Hollywood oozing “Fracture” (2007) with Anthony Hopkins, but his role as an idealistic and cocky district attorney furthered identified his acting range and quickly diminished any belief that he had sold out.
Gosling soon reentered the Independent world with his role as Lars in the film “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007). Gosling plays a lonely and isolated man so detached from society that he begins to date an anatomically correct sex doll. The film may sound awkward and irreverent but it is truly a heartwarming story about hope and acceptance. Gosling portrays this difficult character with warmth and fragility. Lars never becomes the topic of mockery and embarrassment because Gosling refuses to depict the character as an absurd entity. He is merely a socially awkward character who desires to fit in with the world around him.
His Impact on Film
Though Gosling is only 27 years old, he has quickly become a household name. He has been deemed one of the sexiest stars in Hollywood by People magazine and been labeled the next big thing in the film world by some. However, his desire to grow as an actor outweighs any paycheck. He views acting as an art not a job. As of now, he has yet to take on many film roles for the chance at a hefty payday.
As Johnny Depp and Phillip Seymour Hoffman typically do, Gosling transforms himself within the independent film world. The smaller stories are not concerned with explosions or Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) but rather focus on the idea of characters and their relationships to society. For an actor, this must be the most rewarding aspect of role-playing. To be remembered as an artist, rather then a star.