Ryan Gosling stars as a prosecutor with one foot out the door of the District Attorney’s office when he decides to take on a final murder case that appears to be a sure thing in the dramatic thriller, Fracture. Gosling’s one of the hottest young actors in Hollywood right now having just earned a Best Actor nomination at the 2007 Academy Awards for his starring turn in Half Nelson.
Looking back on his Oscar experience, Gosling said the evening was totally surreal. “It was a great night, you know, for my family, and that’s something I didn’t expect. Awards are whatever importance you want to put on them. That’s what they are; they’re very personal. But it meant so much to my family. I had no idea how proud it was going to make all the people in my life. They were so thrilled. I was really grateful to have had that experience and been a part of making them feel that way.”
The Appeal of Fracture: Gosling was drawn to Fracture because his character had flaws and seemed like a real person. “I liked the character. Willie’s a character that, most movies like this, in this genre, they’re like really virtuous guys - like natural heroes waiting to come out," explained Gosling. "And this guy’s not. He’s not good. He’s not a good guy, and he never really is. He’s the good guy in the movie because he’s better than Anthony’s character. But he’s not really that good and he’s not bad, and he’s okay with that. As long as he’s not a bad guy he can live with it. He’s just naturally kind of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, selfish guy with tons of ambition. He’s kind of put in a situation in this movie where if he [spoiler deleted] for a promotion, he’s going to officially be a guy he doesn’t want to be so he reluctantly does the right thing. In the whole film doing the right thing is kind of a pain in the a** for him, and he never makes some kind of huge moral shift. He just reluctantly walks that line, and I thought that that was probably more realistic.”
Developing His Character: Asked to compare the process of developing his character in Fracture to how he developed his character in Half Nelson Gosling said, “You obviously can’t spend as much time on those things because it’s a plot-driven movie. It’s a thriller, it’s not about… A movie like Half Nelson is about those shades of grey, you know, and you have a whole movie to explore those. A movie like this - it’s very different and requires a totally different technique and acting style, something I’d never done before. And for me, it’s what makes this job fun is that I can go from something like Half Nelson — like a $500,000 movie about nothing and explore that - and to go to this movie, which is a much bigger movie. It’s just completely plot-driven, you know? And then I went and did another film after that called Lars and the Real Girl, which is like this Hal Ashby-type movie about a guy who falls in love with a sex doll. For me it’s what keeps it interesting.”
Squaring Off with Sir Anthony Hopkins: Gosling and Hopkins make for interesting adversaries in Fracture, with both actors totally selling the antagonistic relationship. According to Gosling working opposite Hopkins was pure joy. “It’s hard not to have chemistry with Anthony, you know? I think the thing is…what it is really, I think, is that I’m enjoying everything he’s doing so much that I’m trying to get over the fact that I’m in scenes with Anthony Hopkins. And every time he does something I’m like [stares out wide-eyed]. I just want to watch him and I have to remember that I’m in a scene, too, and I have to play the character and be serious. My character doesn’t enjoy him at all and it was really tricky to enjoy him as much as I was and try and pretend like I’m not.”
Keeping the Mood Light: Gosling was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to be with Hopkins on the set. “I think I thought what everyone would probably think, he’s going to be this really intense guy, Sir Anthony Hopkins and all of that, but he’s so funny. He doesn’t take this seriously at all.” As an example of just how much fun Hopkins has on the set, Gosling revealed one of Oscar-winning actor Hopkins’ secret talents is his ability to bark like a dog. Yes, bark. “He barks like a dog and it sounds exactly like a dog,” revealed Gosling. “I mean everything he does he does so good that you can almost tell the breed.”
Barking aside, Gosling said just watching Hopkins work was a real experience. “He’s constantly moving. He’s so inspiring to watch. He’s either painting or he’s writing or he’s directing or he’s composing. He never stops. He’ll be doodling when he talks to you and it’s the greatest doodle you’ve ever seen. And then he’ll get five minutes off and he’ll go to his trailer and he’ll paint a painting and he’ll come back with paint all over his hands. He’ll come back and sit through the scene. He just never stops. He’s a fascinating guy to watch.
I learned how to make a movie by watching him because so many actors, they come on set and they think, ‘This is my journey, my character’s journey, and so you’re all here to facilitate that,’ and movies are set up that way. Actors become these notorious characters because movies support that. They’ve got everyone getting you things and asking you what you need and, ‘How can I help you?’ and everything you want. ‘Get out of my eye-line,’ and all that stuff. And Anthony makes you…he’s totally the opposite. He makes you feel like this is your movie, too. It doesn’t matter what you do on the film; it’s a collaboration. ‘We’re all here together,’ [and] it’s totally inclusive. He talks to everybody. He isn’t precious with his process. He like gives it to you and leaves it on the table, and anyone can pick it up whenever they want and try and figure it out. I did. I was trying to take it apart and try and figure out why he’s so great. I couldn’t. I never worked it out.”