The filmmaker's new action movie stars Gosling as a Hollywood stunt driver, but behind the scenes Winding Refn is actually easily spooked and terrified of fast cars.
So Gosling decided to put Winding Refn's nerves to the test by inviting him onto the Tower of Terror ride, which features a sudden drop in an elevator, at the Disney theme park in California.
Gosling tells NYMag.com, "His family was in town and they wanted to go to Disneyland and I love Disneyland, so I took them. Nicolas is afraid of going fast in a car and... he's also afraid of rides.
"So I tried to trick him into going on some rides at Disneyland. Basically I tried to trick him into going on the Tower of Terror because I convinced him that the elevator took you up to the ride, so once you got to the top, you could get out of the elevator and we would get on the ride and he would just wait up top. But the elevator is the ride. That's the catch. So I took him on. And there's a picture of him screaming for his life... When it was over, all he could say for two hours was, 'I can't feel my legs.'"
But the terrifying incident served a purpose - Gosling reveals Winding Refn used their Disneyland outing as inspiration when he began shooting Drive.
He adds, "I'm told by him that he used that sense memory for the film. He used that adrenaline rush that he got from the ride and channelled it into the movie."