Dear Ryan Gosling,
I get the feeling that now is the time when your talent is fully appreciated. I hope so.
I know there are already people out there who rate you highly, but brilliant as you were in Blue Valentine, it was Michelle Williams who got the Oscar nomination, and few people saw the film. I think it's about time the wider world took more notice of what you have to offer, and I think they will.
It's been a 15 year career so far, starting in television as a teenager, and only getting started in the movies in 2000. That was The Believer. Like Russell Crowe in Romper Stomperand Edward Norton in American History X, your career kicked off with a role as a shaven-headed fascist bigot. In this case, a Jewish kid who wanted to kill Jews. There must be some kind of career path template here.
The next film to create a lasting impression could hardly have been more different. The Notebook is a sentimental weepie par excellence, with you and Rachel McAdams playing the younger James Garner and Gena Rowlands in a love story that lasts for decades. It's cheesy stuff, popular with audiences who like their emotion sliced thick, but you still made it work by virtue of your commitment to sincerity.
And then there was Half Nelson. As Dan Dunne, the inspirational drug-addicted teacher who screws his life up, while helping kids who have little other support in the world, you were sensational, and got a deserved Oscar nomination. But either you didn't want big flashy roles, or they didn't come your way. So you signed upi for Fracture, in which you costar with Anthony Hopkins in an entertaining but unmemorable Jagged Edge-style thriller. That was followed by the much more interesting Lars And The Real Girl, a film which is appreciated by the relatively few people who saw it. Not many actors would have chosen to play a character who is in love with a blow up doll, or else they would have played it for laughs, but you pulled it off. Once again, that word - sincerity.
I've already mentioned Blue Valentine, but it is a film in which you and Michelle Williams give your all, and it's an impressive all. All Good Things has, inexplicably, not been released in this country, but I hear good things about it. And so we come to the period that will, hopefully, launch you to a different level. Drive looks being the kicker. Your role as a guy who drives getaway cars for a living could give you a Steve McQueen-like cool, and given that the film costars Carey Mulligan and is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, it promises to be special. The trailer alone is a thrill - http://youtu.be/eAc23x2JJG0
Crazy Stupid Love is your first conventional mainstream comedy, and despite the impressive cast list, it may not be up to your usual high standards. But as long as it's not a stinker, we can overlook that. And then onwards and upwards with a George Clooney film,The Ides Of March, which already feels like a must see film, and one of my most anticipated events in Toronto (as is Drive).
More films will follow over the next few years, but by then, you might have another Oscar nomination. It is interesting that two of the titles are with directors you've just worked with, always a good sign. I look forward to following your career as you mature. Of the two actors I mentioned earlier, Edward Norton (at 40, 10 years older than you) has let his early promise dissipate, while Russell Crowe, not far off 50, has let the breathless heights of fame go to his head. My hope (and belief) is that you will avoid those pitfalls. And if you go on choosing your roles wisely, and not believing the hype, but working hard at delivering what you're good at - emotional sincerity with a certain impermeable cool that hints at a degree of vulnerability - then you'll do fine. It's a great screen persona. Keep it real. • To stay ahead of the game, subscribe to The Ransom Note – here
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