Hello Dolly! Oscar Nominated Actor Ryan Gosling talks ‘Lars and the Real Girl’
The Notebook’s Ryan Gosling plays Lars Lindstrom, a shy introverted man living in his brother’s garage. Lars’ story is a simple one. He meets a girl online, falls in love and invites the half-Brazilian, half-Danish religious missionary Bianca to live with him.
To his families surprise Bianca isn’t all she said she was, in fact, she’s can speak- she’s a lifeless replica of a woman ordered online from ‘Real Girl’ enterprises.
Nevertheless, the delusional Lars continues to see Bianca as a living human being, offering him love and emotional support. Under the advice of the local psychologist his family reluctantly agrees to play along with Lars’ delusion, as he begins to deal with his personal problems. Here the Oscar Nominated Actor Ryan Gosling talks to us about his latest role, his views on contemporary cinema and what he does with his very own blow up doll at home!
Q: The majority of the film is you and Bianca together, what was your relationship like?
I really grew to be quite fond of Bianca. We had a real bond. To me the concept of the movie is the idea of bonding. I had to have some kind of bond with her. It didn’t feel so strange. I mean it was a unique experience to make this movie, probably one of the most unique experiences I will ever have. As soon as Craig said action, it was just her and I. It is a lonely time between action and cut. She was there with some kind of support. It was just me and her. So I bonded to her and became relaxed when she was around. I looked forward to our scenes together.
Q: But how was it to play opposite someone who didn’t reacting?
Well, I worked with a lot of actors that just don’t react! (Laughs) So it wasn’t that hard. They will come in with the way that they gonna do it and that’s it. There is nothing you can do to break their idea of what the scene is. I was in a different movie than everyone else. My film was a movie about a lonely guy who meets a girl from Brazil on the internet. They email and fall in love with each other and they feel they have similar hopes and dreams. And she comes to visit him and she gets a terminal illness and she dies. To me that’s the movie that I would wanna see anyway. Minus the doll aspect of it, it’s like a Ken Loach movie or something. So I never really thought of the doll aspect of it. What was fun for me was that I got to play two characters. When she and I would fight, you know, we got to figure out what we were fighting about. I’d argue with her and improv for her in response. I just got lost into this place. I got in touch with my inner woman!
Q: That wasn’t in the script; Did you just invented that story for yourself?
That was the great thing about the script. Somehow Nancy managed it to write a script that was completely full. You had total sense of all of the characters, but she let me and all of the actors fill in the rest. So it was the perfect script. Everything was mapped out for you, but at the same time it is endless how much of yourself you can give to her.
Q: Is it true that you approached it like a love story?
To me it is romantic. It is romantic, because I have the idea that love is not a transaction. That it is something that is yours to give and it doesn’t have to be given back in order for you to give it. It is a beautiful idea. I think that is a really romantic idea. A child’s love for his teddy bear is romantic because it is a thing, but he loves it. If he lost it, he would be heartbroken. That love is real! I think that’s a beautiful idea that rarely gets explored in film.
Q: You mentioned before that if you had not been in this movie, it would be one of your favourite ones. Are you saying you can’t really like a movie that you are in?
Yeah, it totally ruins it for me. I can’t appreciate it as a movie, because I see myself. It becomes a different experience of the journey of making it. But objectively, I would love to see a movie like this and not know anything about it. Take this ride without knowing what is going to happen next. Yeah, I think you have to be. Like anything, like an athlete or something. You watch your games and you have to critic yourself. That makes you better but you are not able to sit back and enjoy it.
Q: Could you relate to Lars in any sense? I imagine you being more the popular kid at high school.
Ha, I convinced you! No, I had a terrible time at school. I related to Lars more than any other character I have ever played. I think that hopefully everyone can relate to him. We all share those qualities, although his are amplified and it manifests itself in a more creative way. But I think that we all feel isolated, that we all have trouble communicating who we are to people. We all get social anxieties. I really related to him.
Q: How do you go about researching for an oddball character like Lars?
I think that what’s always interesting to me is that I take a movie and I have all these interesting ideas that I think are so great and they end up to be terrible and I never use them. In the process of trying to achieve those goals, these other things happen. On every film I develop whatever it is, mannerisms or something and for the most parts it comes down to do I try and fight them to keep them out of the movie? Or do I just go with them and leave it up to the director whether he/she director whether he/she wants to put it in or not. I think in terms of films like “Half Nelson” and this one, both directors chose to show those things. But on a lot of other films they cut them out because they find them distracting or irritating.
Q: You get to sing in the movie, how was that?
I mean…. sure. (Laughs) We started a band, because at the time me and my friend were dating sisters. So we were the boyfriends and we spent all this time together and we were like ‘why are we wasting our lives hanging out? Let’s be productive and start a band’. So we did it to occupy our time. We call ourselves “Dead Man’s Bones”. It has Klezmer influence in it. We have a MySpace page. But anyway, this is something I was just doing for fun. And the singing in the movie just felt appropriate, because I felt that there had to be a scene where Lars, being so shy, completely puts himself at risk. I felt that I, Ryan, had to do something that was totally exposing as well in order to be truthful. The only thing I could think of – except standing nude on a platform – was to sing! It was hard for me to do it, it was scary but I felt like it had to be.
Q: Is acting something you always imagined yourself doing?
Well it’s a job and it can be tiring, boring and what not. I find, the more bored I get with it, the easier it gets. Because I think that people make it harder than it is. It is not that hard! Anybody can do it and we all do it all the time in our lives. So for me it’s a job, it is not really an art. It may be for some people, but for me it’s not. I don’t know what art is, but I am pretty sure that it is not something that you are getting paid to do. I think it is something that you do for free. In this case you are doing a job and you are coming and everything is already created for you. Story, character, all of these things… I mean for me, because I treat it like a job, I don’t attach my identity to it. So I am able to be objective about my characters, which I think allows me to get better at it. Because I am not trying to prove anything to the world or to myself about who I am. I am not trying to figure out, it is a job. So I can just look at the character objectively and play it. If you just treat it like a job, it somehow allows you to grow at it as a craft.
Q: You just said that the more bored you get, the easier it gets for you. Are you really more and more bored of this job?
Yeah, you do get bored with it. And then things like this make me asking myself again ‘how do you gonna do this?’ You read it and find it great, but ask yourself ‘how is that gonna work’? So it really challenges you. But acting, you know, going in and saying your lines and making it sound like it is the first time you said it, it takes a little practice, but… we do it in interviews also. We do it all the time when we tell stories to people and you tell the same story over and over again and you pretend that it is the first time. It gets boring.
Q: So do you see yourself moving out of acting realm into something new?
Well, I am gonna direct a film next year, hopefully. We are trying to get the financing for it, it is called “The Lord’s Resistance” and it is about the Lord’s Resistance army in Northern Uganda. I previously did a piece of a documentary about the conditions of the Darfur refugee camps, but I am gonna try and do a film, a narrative one.
Q: Just to clarify, if you’re bored of acting… Is that it for you now?
(Laughs), Look, I am just saying that project ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ l help me to not be bored. It is just hard to find things that don’t seem recycled in some way. Everything you read is like a movie you have seen before, just different actors and slightly different situations, I’m still acting but I try to find what excites me.
Q: Who do you look up to as an actor?
Gene Wilder. To me he is in a category of his own. Nothing I do is ever like hi, and I can’t see the similarity, because I don’t think there is one, but I just think that he is for me, there is no one like him. He is everything. It is just your choice what you wanna feel from what he does. He never directs you; he is never telling you that you should feel this way. It is kind of like ‘you decide’!
Q: The director Craig mentioned that you kept one version of the Bianca doll after the shooting. So you still have Bianca at home?
Yeah. I do. (Laughs)
Q: So what do you do with her?
What I do with her? (Laughs) I don’t know what you are suggesting.
Q: How does your girlfriend feel about Bianca?
I don’t have a girlfriend anymore, so maybe that’s part of it. (Laughs)
‘Lars And The Real Girl’ is at Irish Cinemas from Friday, March 21st