Ryan Gosling ('Gangster Squad')
Ryan Gosling is one of many stars who appear in Ruben FleischerĎs Gangster Squad. The filmís based on the real-life exploits of mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and the guys who brought him down. Set in 1940s L.A.. Gosling channels his inner Joe Friday, or according to him Bugs Bunny. In the film, he plays Sgt. Jerry Wooters, the right-hand man to squad leader Sgt. John OíMara (Josh Brolin).
Chatting one-on-one with Gosling recently, I noted that his character, Jerry seemed very indifferent about his job. Indeed, thereís one scene where he tells OíMara, ďL.A. is drowning and you want to get a bucket when you should be getting a bathing suit.Ē If he feels that way about the city, why is he a detective? "First of all, itís important to point out that the Jerry Wooters character I play is very different from Jerry Wooters the man that the characterís based on. The man himself was very brave and not reluctant in any way. The character, for dramatic purposesĖthere needed to be sort of a reluctant participant in all of this."
"So in our story Jerry is someone who has been to war, lost friends, somehow managed to survive, then comes home and thereís a war going on at home. He feels like heís paid his dues. And also he feels like thereís no point in really getting involved because of the corruption. I mean if you arrest somebody, theyíre out a few hours later. He just thinks itís pointless. So heís sort of hiding away in a bar somewhere, waiting for the smoke to clear."
Through the course of the film, thereís a slow change in Jerry. He becomes a team player, while OíMara gets pushed to the edge. How would you describe Jerryís arc? "We always talked about it in the analogy that he [O'Mara] was like a soldier who was on the ground doing hand-to-hand combat and that Jerry was like a pilot who was used to seeing it from above. I guess in the beginning of the movie it feels like every characterís selected for their specific skill."
"And yet my character has no special skill, except that he is kind of a part of that gangster world. He can give them a certain amount of access. As the film goes on, I think Jerry starts to realize that he has a little perspective on it. He can kind of offer a little distance and perspective for them so that they donít just barge into anything and get taken out because they didnít really put any thought into it."
I noticed you didnít really work with Sean Penn in the film. You shared a scene for a short time, but there was no dialogue. Do you feel gypped?! "I do! I feel like I got gypped on a few levels. One is that I didnít get to work with Sean. The other one is that I didnít get to have a Tommy gun, which is like, whatís the point in doing a gangster movie if you donít have a Tommy gun? Josh Brolin hogged that and I got this little kind of lady gun. It had a sexy ivory handle."
Youíve starred opposite Emma Stone and Anthony Mackie in the past. Was it a coincidence that you all signed on for this? "Ruben just assembled this and it just so happened that a lot of us had worked together before."
Fleischerís known for his comedies [Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less], how was it working with him on something a little more serious "I liked this because I kind of thought it was a comedy. Itís not a drama."
Oh, there are definitely some funny moments! "Yeah, itís not like a straight-up comedy but it is like a comic book or a cartoonish take on the genre. But I was a huge Dick Tracy fan when I was a kid. I was nuts. I used to collect all the Burger King cups and everything. I feel a little gypped on that too. I thought I was gonna get a cup out of this."
Letís talk about another film youíve recently done, Nicolas Winding Refnís 'Only God Forgives.' In that, your character owns a boxing club in Thailand. And you appear brutally beaten in the movie poster. Do you spend the majority of the film that way? "No. You know what happened was some guy came to set. He came to do an article on Nick and they asked me to be in the picture but I had all the makeup on because we had just been shooting that scene. And then the guy had to leave, so I just had to take the pictures in the makeup. For whatever reason, somebody got a hold of that and made a poster of it. Now it looks like thatís our poster but itís not."
Itís not an official poster? "No. Thatís malarky. Excuse my language!"
OK, so you donít look like Eric Stoltz in Mask the whole time?! "No," he laughs, "but I get my ass kicked in that movie."
Hereís a question Iím sure a lot of fans want an answer to. When are you going to do a superhero movie? "Well, theyíre all taken!"
Not true. Justice League is coming out in 2015. Superman and Batman are taken. But The Flash and maybe even Green Lantern are up for grabs "Well, Ryan Reynolds is Green Lantern. I can get Flash basically."
So would you ever do one though? "Hereís the thing. 'Drive' was my attempt at the superhero movie. I had a costume and everything. The scorpion jacket. It was like my cape. It was like the idea of a guy that had seen too many superhero movies and then decided that he was going to make himself one."
Interviewed by: Jason Powell
Back To Archives