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Ryan Gosling Discusses "The Notebook"

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Rachel McAdams James Garner

Rachel McAdams and James Garner in "The Notebook"

Photo © New Line Cinema
Did you watch James Garner and Gena Rowlands perform?
I didn't want to be there too much. I didn't think that I should be there.

Did you discuss the character with James Garner?
Here's the thing: I mean, I can't play a young James Garner. Here's the difference, when James walks on set, women literally look like they're on drugs and no work gets done and they're all laughing a lot and you try to talk to them and they show you their teeth. So he has kind of a thing that I don't have and I didn't want to try and play that. So we sort of decided that I'd just be a character in the story as opposed to trying to play a young James.

Do you have a great love in your life?
(Laughing) No.

Do you believe in that kind of movie romance?
It's not been my experience, to be honest. But maybe. I hear it's possible.

Did you believe in the relationship between these two characters?
Yeah. More than anything, I thought that I liked the idea of playing a character that was so different from the other characters that I've played, who knew what he wanted, and had a kind of sense of clarity about himself and about where he stood. I think that I've been playing a lot of confused characters, which I tend to relate to a lot more than someone like this.

Do you think director Nick Cassavetes filtered this film through his parents’ relationship, and did he talk about that at all?
He did, yeah. He was very close to both of them and really in love with their love. So, yeah. Nick is like the main actor in this movie. He wanted to make it. He believed in this. He thinks that it's real. He's just very passionate about it and I think that in his experience, he felt that he was around something like this when he grew up.

Did you have to workout for this role?
Yeah. We shot the last part of the film first. It's no “Raging Bull” or anything, but I tried to put on as much weight as I could just because I had a character who builds a house on his own and survives the fires of war and I thought that he should really appear stronger than he was in the beginning of the film. Then we took a break and I lost some weight.

How did you do it?
Steroids. No. I ate a lot and worked out.

After playing the romantic lead in “The Notebook,” do you feel like you’ve done this so you won’t play this type of role again any time soon?
I think that I'd wait a while. This was something that I really wanted to try and thought that it was important for me to do something like this. I don't really want to do any one kind of thing. I kind of feel like I want to do as many things that I can for as long as I can. I feel like this was certainly an important experience and now I'll move on.

How was working with Sam Shepard?
That was a treat.

Do you know all of his plays?
Yes. And I'm a big fan of Sam's and I think that one of the best performances that I've ever seen is Sam in “Days of Heaven.” I actually sort of used that as kind of a model for Noah, the way that Sam was in that film, that kind of quiet strength. So yeah, it was a real treat to get to work with him. He's just a really great guy. He's amazing because he'll be outside working on his golf swing and then he'll do the scene and he'll just do the most natural thing. He just forces you to be natural. There's no acting allowed, really.

PAGE 3: Ryan Gosling on Mickey Mouse Memories, Acting, and "Stay"

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