Also Credited As:Ryan Thomas Gosling
|Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Music, Physical Effects|
|November 12, 1980|
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Gosling was born on Nov. 12, 1980, in a small town called London in Ontario, Canada. He seemed to be at odds with his surroundings from the very beginning, and somehow got the idea in his head that being an entertainer would be an easy ticket out of his working class mill town. Gosling had some success doing dance routines on a local talent TV show, but offstage, had trouble with academics and socializing in school. In fact, after a particularly grisly fight on school grounds, he left to be home schooled instead. In 1992, he brought his dance moves to an audition for the Disney Channel's revival of "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1989-1994), winning a spot alongside future singing stars Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. The untrained entertainer's talents proved to be limited alongside the cast of hardcore "child performers," so Gosling found himself relegated to a lot of peripheral roles as a back-up dancer.
Being a performer had hardly saved his soul thus far, but it seemed like the easiest way to a good life, so Gosling persevered, moving to Los Angeles on his own when he was 16 years old. He immediately landed work, delivering a well received turn as a British foundling in an episode of "The Road to Avonlea" (CBC, 1990-96; aired in America on Disney Channel), which brought him a Gemini Award nomination. In 1997, Gosling was tapped to play the smooth-talking hypochondriac Sean Hanlon in "Breaker High" (USA Network, 1997-98), a series about a high school set on a cruise ship. His goofy charm and blond, vulnerable looks earned him teen pin-up status, which was further enhanced by his casting as "Young Hercules" (Fox, 1998-99), a sort of prequel to the popular series starring Kevin Sorbo. Gosling was fairly devastated when the show was cancelled and even considered getting out of acting, in light of his bad programming luck, but he returned from the show's set in New Zealand to L.A., where his personal and professional breakthroughs were right around the corner.
Gosling made the transition to the big screen with a small role in the football drama, "Remember the Titans" (2000), but it was an offer from independent director Henry Bean to star in "The Believer" (2001) that made Gosling finally recognize his potential. Through playing an articulate and intelligent young Jewish teen who becomes involved with a neo-Nazi group, Gosling understood the power of acting for both the actor and the audience - how it was a tool to explore human nature and try to understand life. He had never been asked to work with material of this depth, and his innate grasp of conflicted human emotions helped the film pick up the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Armed with the knowledge that independent films were going to be his ticket to further soul searching, he took on the role of another conflicted teen who forms an emotional bond with his football coach in "The Slaughter Rule" (2002), which was roundly praised by critics for avoiding the pitfalls of sports film clichés, as well as for its captivating performance by Gosling. He was lured into big budget territory with a promisingly dark story about a murderous teen trying to outwit an FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) in "Murder by Numbers" (2002). Gosling's performance in that film made a mark among Hollywood players, but to the public, he became primarily known as Bullock's rumored much younger paramour. Both denied any romantic relationship, but did not stop tabloids from buzzing about it nonetheless.
Gosling next delivered an adroit turn as the autistic Leland in the otherwise disappointing indie "The United States of Leland" (2004), before landing his breakout mainstream role playing the romantic lead opposite Rachel McAdams in Nick Cassavetes' effectively sentimental and emotional "The Notebook" (2004). Cast against type after Cassavetes saw "The Believer" and thought the actor had unexplored depths, Gosling delivered a warm and charming performance buoyed by a heartbreaking depression that elevated his status among the actors of his generation. And to the delight of romantics everywhere, Gosling and McAdams eventually came out as a real-life couple after the film's release, staying together and off the tabloid radar until their split in 2007. Less satisfying than "The Notebook" was Marc Forster's ambitious, but murky psychological thriller "Stay" (2005), about a shrink (Ewan McGregor) whose suicidal patient (Gosling) somehow begins invading his dreams and blurring the lines of their realities and individualities. That same year, Gosling traveled to the battle-torn Darfur region of Uganda and began writing a film about the tragedy of child soldiers. He was also a spokesperson for Invisible Children, an organization seeking to improve conditions for Ugandan children of war. He even addressed the State Department about the need for a U.S. presence and facilitation of a peace process in Darfur.
With "Half Nelson" (2006), it was announced to the entire Oscar-following world that Gosling was a serious contender. He gave a stellar performance as an idealistic and inspirational inner-city teacher who engages in an after school drug habit which is discovered by a troubled student (Shareeka Epps), leading to an unexpected friendship that threatens to either undo them both or bring about the change they both desperately need. Gosling again countered his character's dark side with a believable charm that made the character unexpectedly sympathetic - enough that he was recognized with a Best Male Breakthrough Performance award from the National Board of Review and one for Best Male Lead from the Independent Spirit Awards. In an almost unheard of Hollywood occurrence, the little-known independent actor found himself nominated for a Best Actor Oscar nomination alongside box office heavy-hitters Leonardo DiCaprio, Peter O'Toole, Will Smith and Forest Whitaker.
Hot off his Academy Award nomination, Gosling matched wits with acclaimed actor Anthony Hopkins in the well-reviewed courtroom thriller, "Fracture" (2007). He played an ambitious Deputy D.A. in line for a big promotion after a seemingly open-and-shut case against a wealthy aeronautical engineer (Hopkins) who shot and killed his much younger wife (Embeth Davidtz). Gosling was singled out by many critics for fully inhabiting a role that most other actors would have simply sleepwalked through. He returned to independent film to take on another societal misfit in "Lars and the Real Girl" (2007), playing a small town introvert who begins to break out of his shell with the help of a life-like female doll he orders off the Internet. The offbeat comedy earned rave reviews and again Gosling was hailed as among the best up-and-coming actors of his generation; enough that his oddball performance garnered him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.
Around this time, Gosling dropped out of the public eye for a time before resurfacing in the romantic mystery "All Good Things" (2010), co-starring Kirsten Dunst. Inspired by New York's most notorious unsolved murder case, Gosling played an affluent young husband who is suspected of - but never charged with - the disappearance of his wife (Dunst). Troubled relationships appeared to be a running theme for Gosling, when that same year he starred opposite Michelle Williams in the romantic drama "Blue Valentine" (2010). In the intimate tale of love and loss, Gosling and Williams portrayed a young couple charting the course of their once idyllic - now unbearably painful - relationship over the years. The small independent film received strong critical praise, and earned Gosling a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama that year.
Gosling had a banner year in 2011 with three widely divergent roles that earned him widespread critical acclaim and greatly increased his audience appeal. He had his first comedic turn opposite Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Glenn Ficarra's romantic comedy-drama, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (2011), playing a womanizer who meets his match in a young woman (Emma Stone) who refuses his advances. He next starred in the indie neo-noir, "Drive" (2011), a pulsating crime thriller in which he played an anonymous stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver and runs afoul of a pair of mobsters (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) after falling for a married woman (Carey Mulligan). The film was hailed by critics and earned Gosling some of the highest marks of his career, which led to some serious Oscar buzz and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. Meanwhile, he delivered another fine turn as a campaign manager for a Democratic candidate for president (George Clooney) in the political thriller, "The Ides of March" (2011). The role earned Gosling more award recognition, this time in the form of a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a motion picture drama.
From there, Gosling had a relatively quiet 2012, but returned the following year with a starring role in "Gangster Squad" (2013), a period crime drama set in 1940s Los Angeles. Gosling played a reluctant LAPD officer recruited by a headstrong cop (Josh Brolin) to take part in a guerilla-style war against Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and his thugs. Despite mixed reviews that cited the film's half-filled promise and some rather one-note performances, particularly from Penn, "Gangster Squad" was mildly successful at the box office. A few months later, Gosling reunited with "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance for "The Place Beyond the Pines" (2013), where he played a motorcycle stunt rider who turns to robbing banks in order to support his new family, only end up on a collision course with a rookie police officer (Bradley Cooper). The film received positive reviews in a limited release, while Gosling earned tabloid attention for embarking on a romance with "Pines" co-star Eva Mendes, which first came to light in 2011. Gosling next starred in "Only God Forgives" (2013) working again with Refn for another hard-hitting and moody thriller, this time set in Thailand. The movie proved to be very divisive and only reinforced Gosling's tendencies towards following his own muse-or the muse of an intriguingly eccentric filmmaker. Fittingly enough, around this time, he joined the cast of a typically secretive Terrence Malick production, and also undertook his own debut as a director and screenwriter, "How to Catch a Monster" (2014), with Mendes, Christina Hendricks and British actor Matt Smith joining the cast.