From The Mickey Mouse Club To The Oscars: The Evolution Of Ryan Gosling

What makes Ryan Gosling the enigma that he is? Find out by delving into the depths of his rise to stardom.

By Paula Dsouza

What do you find most often makes an actor? Is it their ability to bring stories to life? Is it the irresistible charm necessary to draw an audience? Or is it something more? Can the career of an actor house more depth than the world assumes it does, or does it die in assumption? A certain player in the world of acting who goes by the name Ryan Gosling seems to have surpassed the confines of assumptions, somehow allowing for the belief that there might just be a higher level of intricacy involved, in the realm of acting, than past assumptions deemed achievable.

Ryan Gosling

How Gosling Became Gosling

The start wasn’t the most picturesque for Gosling but at the end of the day, beginnings are beginnings. “I was a hamster in ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’, just to figure it out,” the Oscar nominated actor joked in an interview. That being said, Disney’s ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ was Gosling’s first ever role as an actor and even though he had to be a mere rodent, the part somehow played a minor role in his understanding of ‘Ken’ – a role that would eventually lead him to the Academy Awards yet again!

2001, on the other hand, had plans for Ryan that involved much more than rats. In ‘The Believer’, the role of Danny Balint, a Jewish neo-Nazi, as contradictory as that may sound, landed Gosling a place in Hollywood he would never give up. To say that this character had a significant amount of depth and complexity wouldn’t even scratch the surface. Moreover, Gosling couldn’t have been further from his character, having grown up in a Mormon household in Ontario, Canada.

In interviews, the actor has previously talked about how he appreciates the idea that people with different perspectives exist, and that it is possible to somehow find an area of common ground where both can exist. He says, “To take somebody like Danny and work through to find that place where we both live was a really important thing for me. And from that experience, I learned that in this whole thing, movies, the whole business, there is a place for me where I can take these people who seem so different from me and figure out where we’re the same.”

Ryan Gosling

And with that and the success of this film, any prior assumption anyone had about both, the trajectory of Disney stars and Gosling’s ability as an actor, were entirely obliterated. What followed, quite predictably, was truly how Gosling became Gosling.

Hollywood’s Newest Heartthrob

After an intense movie like ‘The Believer’, one would think that Ryan had a specific kind of flair for complex roles. The ones that seem dark and mysterious. Ironically, the films that followed for Gosling were in a way dark and mysterious, but he added a third character trait to his repertoire, and that was – broody.

Ryan Gosling

And then came the conception of Ryan’s ‘brooding lover’ era and with that came ‘The Notebook’. Much can be said about the film that singlehandedly elevated the idea of the ‘rom-coms’, i.e. romantic comedy. Other than the fact that it was a Nicholas Sparks movie, ‘The Notebook’ became a cult favourite for multiple reasons, one of which was Ryan Gosling. If you didn’t know him from his previous movies, you certainly knew him now. However, the romantic lover boy isn’t what pushed Gosling’s skill set here. The actor reportedly learnt how to play the piano from scratch to make the scenes more believable. He also learnt how to build furniture, fully immersing himself into the world of his character Noah Calhoun. Gosling went on to date his co-star Rachel McAdams for a few years after the movie released.

What then followed for the actor was an Academy Award synonymous peak. An independent film, a first for Gosling, landed him yet another first – an Oscar nomination, and just like that it was the big leagues! The movie ‘Half Nelson’ came out in 2006 and was about a history professor who had a substance abuse problem. Somehow, Gosling managed to make the film about leaving the audience with an unlikely friendship to resonate with, a characteristic that probably got him his nomination. Be it a romantic lover, Nazi supporter, intoxicated professor or hamster, Ryan Gosling could do it all!

Ryan Gosling

A Boundless Talent

The trailer for the movie ‘La La Land’ came out in the year 2016 and took the internet by storm. It was a movie, a musical, but with a gripping storyline. And none other than Ryan Gosling yet again took center stage. This time, however, he happened to be dancing and singing in addition to his day job as a ‘mere multifaceted actor’. And what the movie ‘La La Land’ gave Hollywood was not just a singing Gosling, but a Gosling singing the song ‘City Of Stars’ (composed and written for the film), while playing the piano for Emma Stone in what could be one of the most delicately romantic scenes in the entire movie. “Any time there was live singing on set, they were singing live, not lip-syncing. So I was in the other room playing an electric keyboard into their earpieces. That let them be free with their performances and take the space they needed to act it. So there was this great give and take, this pushing and pulling and responding to each other and you get a real, authentic performance,” said musical composer of the film Justin Hurwitz. The film went on to be nominated for 14 Academy Awards, one of which was a nomination for Best Actor for Gosling!

Ryan Gosling

The ‘Mojo Dojo Casa House’ Era

Finally, what followed for Gosling was something so out of his repertoire, everyone including himself couldn’t have predicted it. Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ needed a Ken and Ryan was apparently the perfect fit. Not many remembered Ken before this film but post the release of ‘Barbie’, multiple phrases like: ‘To be honest, when I found out the patriarchy wasn’t just about horses, I lost interest’; ‘This shall henceforth be known as Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House’; ‘I am kenough’ went viral. Was Ryan Gosling’s delivery a huge reason they went viral? Absolutely. The actor brought a certain layer of suaveness with a comical level of immaturity to his character, and built a personality into what essentially was a plastic doll whose job title was, ‘beach’.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan has previously discussed on ‘The Tonight Show’ how he was drawn to the role, calling it the “best script I ever read.” Gosling recounted finding Ken face down in the mud next to a squished lemon in his backyard and texting a photo to the director, Greta Gerwig, saying, “I shall be your Ken. For this story must be told.” Not only did Ryan then just tell the story, but how he told it secured him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The film gave Gosling yet another hit song titled ‘I’m Just Ken’, which the actor performed in a hot pink suit at the Oscars, for which he received a standing ovation. Reportedly, the whole sketch was Ryan’s idea and he took inspiration from Marilyn Monroe’s performance in the song ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ from the movie ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. Oscar producer Molly McNearney said, “Ryan Gosling is a true professional, that man — we met with him on Zoom months ago, talking about that performance, he was so committed to it.” The performance also had a surprise guest which Gosling planned himself – who was none other than Slash from Guns N’ Roses.

Ryan Gosling

Overall, Ryan Gosling is an enigma, an unparalleled talent, that no one could ever replicate.

Fatherhood For Gosling

In doing all this and more, it’s quite baffling that the actor has time for still more; yes, Ryan is also a father. The actor welcomed his two daughters, Esmeralda and Amada, with his partner Eva Mendes in 2014 and 2016 respectively. The couple has opted to keep their family out of Hollywood’s gaze and live an intimate, private life. “I wasn’t thinking about kids before I met her, but after I met Eva, I realized that I just didn’t want to have kids without her,” said Gosling in an interview.

Ryan Gosling

Could it get more fairytale-like than this? We think not.

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