Ryan Gosling trying to find the clues against Anthony Hopkins in the thriller
This time, acting opposite Anthony Hopkins; Ryan stars as a hot-shot young lawyer working for the District Attorney's office. Just as he accepts a job at one of the best law firms in Los Angeles, he accepts an open and close case of a man (Hopkins) accused of murdering his wife.
A signed and verbal confession - a done deal, right? Wrong! What Ryan doesn't know is Anthony has a few tricks up his sleeve. His wife was having an affair with the very hostage negotiator who took the confession. Also, no one can find the gun used in the murder. Throughout the film, Ryan desperately tries to find the clues, the answers to nail Anthony. Brilliantly, a cat and mouse chase with an ending you'll never see coming.
Ryan sat down with Movieweb.com to talk about the film; here's what he had to say:
So who's more intimidating, Shareeka Epps (Half Nelson) or Anthony?
Ryan Gosling: Oh, hard choice; Anthony is intimidating for different reasons than I thought. He's so good; in a way, he's the warmest - a really loving guy, and he's so prolific, he never stops. He just never stops - he's this creative force; that's inspiring and intimidating at the same time.
For you, does staying in character help you more?
Ryan Gosling: I think about it too much; as far as staying in character, I know a lot of actors talk about being in character and taking it home, but I don't think that's how it feels it happens for me. I think you are all of your characters in some way and you just turn up the parts of you that are then and you turn down the parts of you who aren't and it's just a tuning process really.
What did you think of your character's arc in the movie?
Ryan Gosling: Yeah, that's why I liked him because first of all, he reminds me of agents I met - you're not really sure if they're faking their accents or not, you can't really know where they're coming from. He's supposed to be the good guy in the movie, but he's not really that good; he's not a good guy, he's not bad and as long as he's not bad, that's good enough for him. Doing the right thing is kind of a pain in the ass; it's not in his nature to be heroic, or to be good or to do the right thing. He leans more towards the narcissistic, self-serving, selfish side of things and never really quite changes. He's just put in a position where if he lets this woman for a promotion, he's officially going to be someone he doesn't want to be so he actively not be that person, but he's constantly doing the bare minimum. I found that interesting in this genre to have a character like that who's not virtuous.
Was it hard to get your mind around this character
Ryan Gosling: It's ambition; I have my ambitions as well and can transpose it onto his, but different, but I could see if you stay in this town long enough, how you can turn into that, you know. I struggle with that as well.
What was the first meeting with Anthony like?
Ryan Gosling: I did more acting in trying to pretend that I wasn't enjoying what Anthony was doing; it's hard to be in scenes with him and you're sitting there and he's being so good but you just want to watch him as if he was in a movie and then you have to remind yourself 'no you're in this film too.' I would laugh at stuff he was doing and go ha ha, great! But not great, you're a bad guy; that was hard and I found that really difficult, plus I was taking acting notes at the same time. I was trying to break down why he's so great and thought if I could be there on set, and could watch it happen, I'd be able to figure it out, but it's just that he's great, there's no real secret to it.
Were you surprised by anything with him?
Ryan Gosling: One thing that I did learn is that a lot of people when they make movies, the actors act like it's their journey and that everyone is on the set to facilitate their journey and the whole thing is set up that way - they ask if you want anything. What you need and everyone is there to help you so you feel that everyone is there for you; Tony has this great way of making everyone feel like we're making this movie together, this is a collaboration, he's very inclusive, he's not really private or precious with his process. He puts it out on the table and anyone can pick it up and try like a Rubik's Cube, try and work it out. I think that, for me, it was great; at this point in my career to see somebody work like that.
Did you do any legal research at all or did you think you didn't need to know that to play this guy?
Ryan Gosling: I did the normal things - I went to courts and watched trials, met with lawyers, met with some lawyers. This is really interesting, they'd been involved with these really high profile cases where we all know that they did it, and we know that they did it, and they defended them anyway - just trying to understand that, how one justifies that.
When you were reading the script, were you trying to figure out and follow the story?
Ryan Gosling: There are so many twists and turns in this movie that I just tried to, and it was hard because you sort of have to as a storyteller, a part of you has to know what's happening, when. You have to kind of map it out a little bit in a movie like this; I don't really know because I've never done a film like this and I don't feel like I've mastered it at all. It's totally different from anything that I've done because it's so plot driven; everything else I've done, it's not. There's so much more room in it for other things and this is just about this journey that the characters are on and these twists and turns. Basically Anthony puts a ring in his nose and pulls him around for 2 hours - I tried to just let that happen.
Have you found since your Oscar nomination that you're getting different types of scripts, more scripts - has it changed your life at all?
Ryan Gosling: I think there's a lot more opportunities now than there was, but I think also with those opportunities comes a certain responsibility to do the most with those opportunities. I mean, in a way it's like when you only have one option when you're starting out, it's easy because you take that option. But when you have a lot of them you really have to make sure that that option is going to give you more opportunities or take you in the direction that you want to go.
Greg Hoblit uses more cameras; does that help and what does that bring to the set?
Ryan Gosling: It's different, I like to try new things, so for me it was a whole different world to come into, it's a big movie, lots of cameras, all this stuff, and it was interesting to try find a way to navigate through that. Greg's really like a kid, he's still excited about making movies, he sits in front of the monitor like this all the time, and he's thrilled to be there and it's really fun to be around that kind of energy.
Was there any adlibbing - when Anthony Hopkins goes like with the tie -
Ryan Gosling: First of all, you never know what Anthony's going to do; he doesn't.
Do you prefer the indies or the big films?
Ryan Gosling: I like all kinds of movies, I love movies; I like this genre of movie although I don't think I've seen a lot of good ones lately and I always wanted to try and make one. I thought you couldn't have had a better partner than Anthony Hopkins, so for me at this point in my career, it was a really big opportunity to work with Anthony. He's a master and to watch a master work I felt was really important. With Half Nelson, I like making movies like that and probably will always go back to that; I think it's easier to make a better movie when they're smaller just because you have less people watching so when you go and make a big movie, you have to feel like you have a good team. Greg made Primal Fear and Anthony is Anthony and you have David Strathairn and Rosamund (Pike) and Cliff Curtis and all these great actors and it's good because you think, it's possible. I try not to discriminate against budget because there's so little good material out there anyway that if I focus myself on one world, I'll never work, so I have to do the best with what's out there no matter if it's big or small.
Can you tell us something about Lars and the Real Girl?
Ryan Gosling: Yeah, it's this film that I did and it comes out in October, and it's about a man who falls in love with a doll, a sex doll. It's really beautiful I think love story about their relationship, and in a way it's probably closer to The Notebook than anything I've done.
First, you can check out Ryan and Anthony in Fracture - see if you can find out the clues when it hits theaters April 20th; it's rated R.