Ryan Gosling On Dancing Ballet and Thinking Like A Woman

Ryan Gosling THE IDES OF MARCH interview

THE IDES OF MARCH star Ryan Gosling dances ballet for exercise, thinks like a woman, and he reveals he took the role of Stevie in George Clooney's helmed political drama out of fear in a Q&A with the former Disney mousketeer.

Q:  The film seemed like it ended too soon because it captivates you.
It’s funny to watch the film because it’s so tense; it wasn’t tense for a second on set. It was the complete opposite. George was just as concerned that the movie was fun to make as it was fun to watch. So he was always up to something. He had a Nerf gun and one point behind the monitor. If he didn’t like a take he’d fire it at you.

Q: How does it feel to be the bad guy? What’d you enjoy the most?
One of my favorite monster is the two faced man. In some way, I feel like I’m always trying to play the two-faced man in a movie. I kind of saw this as a political monster movie. When I was the two-faced man and it was so strange when they made the poster because it kind of made it official.

Q:  Did you meet any politicians?
Yeah I met some people.  I’d rather them be off the record, but I had a lot of help

Q:  Did you steal something from actual politicians?
Yeah, sure—behavior. I met with the guy the play was based on originally. It was a big help.

Q:  Do you see this as a political movie?
No, there’s no political message. It’s a thriller set in a political arena. It could be set on Wall Street or Hollywood.

Q:  Has this colored your opinion of politics?
The research was interesting.  I learned a lot. I’m from Canada, so that’s not really in my wheel house. I’ve lived here for a long time so it was a good opportunity for me to learn about it.

Q:  Will you become a citizen? Will you run for President?
I don’t know. I like being Canadian. Well, I can’t even vote.

Q:  What about in Canada?
I’ve been away too long. I don’t think they’ll have me either.

Q:  Can this movie change the view of politics?
I hope not. It’s just supposed to be a good time at the movies.

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling star in THE IDES OF MARCH

Q:  Had you and George talked about working together?
We had talked about finding something. But it just seemed so far away.  The idea of working with him seemed like that will never happen. He’s a very impressive person who is doing so much all the time. At any given moment, at least when I was working with him, he was the director, the star, the producer, the writer. He was working on this satellite project over in Sudan, and he’s got 10 practical jokes in the works at any given moment.

Q:  Did you fall victim to any?
Yeah. sure. I was talking about them before and George said 'Hey, stop telling my pranks because now I can’t do them.'

Q:   Someone wrote that Ryan Gosling is turning into Geroge Clooney
Who? What the? Really? What’s the answer?

Q:  Good looks, good movies. What do you think?
About that title. I don’t think. I don’t know what to think about that I’ll get back to you

Q:   You've said that you put something of yourself in the character. What about you is in Steve?
I don’t know if you can help but put some of yourself in the character because you see them through your filter. Whether you’re playing yourself or not, you’re still drawing on your perception of it. So it’s inherent that it says something about you. In terms of this, I related to nothing personal, but it’s hard to be honest in this job. You can’t really tell the truth. You have to be careful about what you say about , what you say because it gets taken out of context and it gets chopped up and used for parts. You have to become comfortable being dishonest. I struggle with that, and I can relate to Steven’s struggle with that. Carefully put.

Q:  Recently you said you didn’t see yourself acting in another ten years.
Again, talking about something that gets taken out of context. It’s like I’m retiring or something. It’s not that. What I said was that I have been acting since I was 12. I have felt very creative lately and wanted to. I made a lot of films. I can’t see that pace maintaining. I also don’t want to do just one thing for the rest of my life. And I don’t know how many characters one person has in them. I’m sure that it will dry up at some point. I would like to direct and I have plans to do that. I can see that becoming a big part of my life.

Q:  Did you already find a script to direct?
I wrote one. I can’t tell. I don’t want to write checks I can’t cash. I still have a long way to go. I’d be excited to talk about it when it’s written.

Q:  Are you thrilled with what you’ve written?
No! For me it’s a long process. This is just a step along the way. I’m very excited and I love working on it. I’m just trying to focus on the fact that I’m enjoying working on it.

Q: Where did you find the time?
I have been working on it for a while. I’m getting scared now. I still have a long way to go. I’m not ready to talk about it but thank you for your interest.

Q:  How did you get involved on this project?
George called me and he asked me to do it. I think when George Clooney asks you to do his film you just do it. It is kind of a no brainer for me. Also the cast, Phillip Seymour Hoffman is one of heroes as is Marissa Tomei. Jeffery Wright and Paul  Giamatti, and Evan is now a new one of my heroes. Max Minghella. It was a huge opportunity for me to get to work with some of my favorite actors.

Q:  What did you do when you received the call?
I was –George who? Uh, please hold. I was very nervous. I don’t know if you can imagine, but it’s a very nerve-wracking thing to walk into. This world is right in George’s wheel house. He is very involved in that world and knows it intimately and I don’t. Also it’s all your favorite actors.  You have to try and keep up. I took it because it scared me.

Q: Did you see the play?
I never saw the play. I read the play but I never got a chance to see the play while it was up.

Q:  What did you learn?
I learned a lot from Phil. From watching Phil. He puts it all on the line, every take. He never plays it safe. It was an important thing for me to watch.

Q:  What do you feel like you still have to do as an actor?
I want to work with the same filmmakers. There is so much of a creative hump to get over on your first film with anyone. You are just getting to know them as your making the film. You don’t have a short hand. I just made a second film with Derek Cianfrance, who I did Blue Valentine with. It’s called a Place Beyond the Pine.  It’s the best experience I’ve ever have making a film. I think it’s because he and I have one film behind us and we have a history and we can talk to each other in a way we couldn’t before. I feel like this film, Pines, is an evolution. It’s exciting for me. It’s the direction I’d like to go in. I’m making more films with Nicolas Winding Refn as well.  I like the idea of getting married. I feel like I’ve been dating all these filmmakers. I just want to get married.

Q:  I heard you want to make babies too.
That is something that got taken out of context. I was saying that genetically you are programmed to have certain instincts and if you aren’t fulfilling those instincts they manifest themselves creatively.

Q:   Can you tell us about the process—behind the scenes.
Working on the set,  George wanted people to have a good time on this film. It was very, very important to him. There were a lot of dinners that went until the wee hours and a lot of practical jokes going on on-set. Everyone was just was having so much fun it hardly felt like work.

Q:  How many weeks did you shoot?
A couple months. We also shot in Detroit, which was really interesting. I had never been there. I kind of fell in love with Detroit. I don’t know if you’ve been there. It’s a very interesting place. There’s forty square miles of abandoned buildings, and factories and schools. There is a statistic--one person has left Detroit every day for the last ten years. I had never been anywhere like that. I was really touched by it. That was one experience that wasn’t part of the film that was really moving.

Q: Is being Hollywood’s lead becoming tiresome?
Well, I am just so sick of myself.  I can’t imagine how everyone else feels. There’s not any where to go but down really, from here. It’s been nice. It’s been real.

Q:  You’re booked up so far into the future. Does it feel claustrophobic?
Yeah, I’ve never done that before.  This is new for me. I would make a film every year or two years.  I have never worked this way. I finished Derek’s film and a week later I was working on this gangster picture. This is new for me. We’ll see.  I may regret it when I watch the films. I also just want to be making films.

Q:  The opportunities are too good to pass up?
The opportunities are great. It’s also that I don’t wanna just be hanging out. I feel like this is the time for me to be productive. I love Nick Cage.  He’s the best.

Q:  Are you bored with free time?


Q:  Is Disneyland still a magical place for you?
Yeah I have a love/hate relationship with it. That’s what’s so interesting about it. The attention to detail at Disney is something that never gets old. There’s always something new you can find.  Something that they’ve thought of. Also that somebody had this dream and they made their dream so real that now you can walk around in it. Now bled it’s way into kids dream and they grow up and it becomes part of their internal landscape. I like Disney. It’s so weird.  

Q:   You go to the gym?
That’s sweet of you to say. I have to exercise for movies. I do ballet, gymnastics. You gotta put your son in ballet.

Q:  Do you perform?
No,  I am terrible. I just like it. I did it when I was a kid. Then I got embarrassed at some point. But now it’s still embarrassing but I don’t care. You have to earn your tights. They are like belts in karate. I think it would take me ten years to become okay. It takes a long time.

Q:  How often do you practice?
Whenever I can.  It’s nice to be in LA because I have a place that I go. It’s hard to be in Detroit and find a ballet. I have also put in all the work to embarrass myself in front of all these people in LA. I’m used to doing it. It’s hard because there’s a glass window to all the rooms and the other students and young girls. The moms just kind of watch you practice. They say ‘keep it up.’ They try and be positive but it’s so bad.  

Q:  What do you like about ballet?
I don’t know. I guess it’s the same as with acting. I’m compelled to do it and I don’t know why. I do it to find out why. The not knowing is interesting. Like why do I wanna do ballet?  I don’t know. It’s a weird thing to wanna do but I really like it.

Q: Do you think like a women?
I was raised by my mother and my sister. I think like a girl. I wouldn’t know the difference. My sister was my best friend and kind of my hero growing up. I was homeschooled by my mother for a year. For a long time when I was acting, my mother was with me.  so I didn’t have a lot of friends. I didn’t have a group of friends. When I was in ballet it was always just girls. That had an affect on my brain.

THE IDES OF MARCH  is in movie theatres October 7, 2011.

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