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Ryan Gosling’s Delusional Movie: ‘Lars and the Real Girl’

[IMG:L]Leading man heartthrob Ryan Gosling packed on a few pounds for his new movie, Lars and the Real Girl. He needed a puffy face to convincingly play a guy who had a hard time meeting women. In person, he’s already put the weight back on for his upcoming role in The Lovely Bones, but even with a tummy sticking out over his belt, he’s still every bit the heartthrob audiences fell for in The Notebook.

Lars is a reclusive guy living somewhere up north, working in a cubicle and coming home to his garage apartment just off his brother’s house. He orders a realistic sex doll but introduces her to his family as his new girlfriend. Diagnosed with a delusion, the doctor suggests the family play along until Lars works through the whole fantasy. The town plays along out of love for their local boy.

The film portrays poor Lars sensitively, not as the butt of jokes and even now, Gosling refers to his prop costar as “Bianca.”

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Hollywood.com: The way I see it, this is either a cautionary tale or my future biography.
Ryan Gosling:
[High fives me] You and me both!

HW: How do you see this movie?
RG:
I don’t know. It’s totally unique. Conceptually it sounds funny. When I first heard of it I thought it was wacky. It was not dissimilar from a kid’s relationship with his teddy bear. You love it and you go through really important parts of your life with it and you talk to it and if you were ever to lose it, it would be heartbreaking. I think his relationship is different from this community of guys that has them [in real life] because his relationship isn’t necessarily sexual, but it is romantic. He’s a big child and he has all this romantic love to give, and he doesn’t know how to do it. I think there is something really romantic about the film and the idea that love is not a transaction, that it’s something you can just give and it doesn’t have to be returned to you. You can love people who don’t love you back. There is all kinds of different ways to love, and this is one of them.

HW: How do you keep from becoming a Lars, especially in Hollywood? How do you not retreat into yourself and maintain normal relationships?
RG:
It’s hard. I think you have to be really proactive about trying to maintain some kind of normalcy. The hard part about it is you lose the ability to meet people for the first time. Everybody knows something about you and you don’t know anything about them. You come into a room and people have all these ideas about you and you are always at a disadvantage. You are always trying to catch up. So you have to, I think, make the effort to catch up. If you just walk in and accept that you’re never going to connect with these people, you can kind of fall down that rabbit hole.

HW: How did you come up with the look and mannerisms of Lars?
RG:
I had a beard and I was shaving it off for the film. And then I caught a glimpse of myself with the mustache and I saw him. So the mustache just came that easily. I have all these what I think are great ideas about the character, and then they never make the movie. They are never very good. Then in the process of me trying to attain these goals, all these little things happen, and they are things that are specific to each movie that I work on. They just kind of happen. All those mannerisms and stuff are not conscious or things that I plan. They just kind of happen. It’s up to the filmmaker whether he wants to put them in or not. Most films I work on, directors always cut them out because they think they are distracting or something. Craig [Gillespie] is great because he recognized they are specific to that character. In Half Nelson, they included a lot of that stuff too. Then when I finish the film, they kind of go away.

HW: So you don’t recognize you are doing a different kind of smile, for instance, or jittering nervously?
RG:
Yeah, you just kind of start to behave differently, but it’s all part of you. For me they are not things you add on. They are aspects of yourself that you turn up that match the character. So for me, I am all of my characters. I don’t become characters. They are me. And Lars is a big part of who I am. Once I got into that part of my personality and I took away all the other affectations that I have to try and appear cool and sexy and all that stuff, when I got rid of those ideas because those don’t occur to him, then I was just left with this other part of me, which is who he is.

HW: So it does occur to you to be cool and sexy?
RG:
Sure, I’m as contrived as the next guy. Everybody is looking at me and I’m trying to be a sexy cool guy and have great things to say. It’s all an affectation.

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HW: You lived in Lars’s garage apartment for a while. That sounds kind of method. How did it help you?
RG:
When you are an actor without a method, you’ll do anything. I did that. To be honest, I don’t think I got anything out of it. You try those things because you feel, “Well they are paying me. I should be doing something. I’ll go sleep in the garage.”

HW: You came from the Mickey Mouse Club just like Britney Spears and other current headline makers. How did you stay out of trouble?
RG:
I did, but I also think they left me alone to a certain extent. I do feel like the media has a sort of responsibility to what happens to these people. Certain situations like Britney’s–it’s like a witch hunt. They might as well burn her at the stake while they are at it. She’s a young girl and the things people say about her are so mean, I can’t understand it. Grown men [are] on talk shows talking about a young girl in the most lascivious, disrespectful way. There is only so much any human being can hear about themselves and not have it take some kind of affect. By the way, the media helped create her. Everything sexual that she did at a young age was supported and applauded and encouraged. Now that there are ramifications for that kind of life. Now it’s like she is being crucified. I feel lucky to have been able to maintain a certain level of anonymity and not have been the focus of that attention because I’d like to think that I’m strong enough not to be affected by it. But how much can any person take really?

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