Gosling's Many Faces

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Behind the actor’s odd, evolving appeal, from The Mickey Mouse Club to the top of the A-list.

There’s something off about Ryan Gosling. It starts with that face, which has melted millions of hearts and launched countless Internet memes and yet looks somehow too long and too narrow, like it was squeezed in a vise. The director of his breakout tearjerker, The Notebook (2004), reportedly gave him the part because, he told him, “you’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.” Gosling’s off-ness continues with his accent, which sounds vaguely outer-borough New York even though he’s from Ontario. He admits he cultivated it to sound less like Dudley Do-Right and more like Marlon Brando, perhaps his closest filmic forebear in terms of raw magnetism and shape-shifting talent. 

Like Brando, he courts contrast and contradiction: The kid who made his bones in The Mickey Mouse Club grew up specializing in dark, brooding indies like Drive (his The Wild One) and Blue Valentine (his Last Tango in Paris)—yet maintains that Disneyland is his favorite place on earth. Now, living up to his avian surname, Gosling’s molting his identity again with a string of lighter fare: his recent ensemble dramedy, The Big Short; a buddy comedy (The Nice Guys, alongside Russell Crowe, out May 20); and a musical (this fall’s La La Land, opposite his Crazy Stupid Love costar, Emma Stone). And this summer, he’ll shoot the sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner, about androids living secretly among us—not to spoil the movie before it’s made but...isn’t there something a little off about Ryan Gosling? 

Five Gosling Facts You May Not Have Known

1. He was raised a Mormon. 

2. He assembled the car he used in Drive.

3. He co-owns a decent Moroccan restaurant, Tagine, in Beverly Hills.

4. Though he has never played a superhero, he has broken up a street fight in Manhattan and saved a woman from getting hit by a car. 

5. Justin Timberlake’s mom was briefly his legal guardian.