Special Interview Ryan Gosling
La La Land has been greatly acclaimed all over the world, what’s your feeling about this? Were you expecting this kind of success?
I think that we all felt like this was a very unique and special opportunity. I can speak for myself when I say I thought that the old Hollywood musical was a thing of the past. Although I grew up watching them, I didn’t think it was something I would necessarily have an opportunity to make, so it felt special to us while we were making it, but I didn’t know if that’s just because we are filmmakers. We understood what a unique opportunity it was, but it’s been a real surprise to see the response to the film and how much it’s resonating with the audience. I’ve just in the last few days talked to a few people who have seen in 10 times. I never could have expected that.
What’s been your relationship with the musical genre?
Singing in the Rain. American in Paris. Yeah. They’re very unique films. They’re films that you can watch ... in some way you never really tire of. They are unique in that way, because I have films that I love that aren’t musicals, but they’re not necessarily something I’ve seen many times. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Singing in the Rain, it never gets old.
How is it possible to learn to play piano in a couple of months? Cause it was amazing how you played the piano and I would like to know the secret.
Just ... it’s really boring, but practice. We talk a lot about ... I’ve been talking a lot about this process, but I hope in some way it’s an inspiration to people to try, because I think I’m not special in that way. I think you would be surprised how much you could learn in 3 months if you just practice.
What is home for you right now? I know you lived in Los Angeles.
Well I’ve lived here since I was 16. It’s home. I think, you know I’m from Canada, so I think I was just very impressed with how warm it was and I thought, “I could get used to this.”. Look, it’s a big city. It’s a very complicated city with a lot of moving pieces. It’s very different than how it’s represented in film, which was my only experience with it up until that point, plus I was 16 so I didn’t ... in some ways I’m glad I did it at 16 because I think if I had been older I don’t know that I would have been so bold.
Where were you at 16? Did you have to wait tables? Was it like a classic Hollywood success story? What was it like being here at the age of 16?
I think it’s a pretty normal actor’s experience. You spend a lot of time sleeping on floors and couches and you make your way up slowly. I met a lot of great people along the way that were very supportive and helpful to me. This city got smaller over time.
This movie’s also about the story of two people coming to Los Angeles or living in Los Angeles and trying to follow their dreams, and also they found themselves in the situation, in the option, “Should I follow success? Should I follow my dream? Should I sell my dream out
Yeah ... I don’t know if I ... look I feel very lucky that I didn’t get the things that at the time I thought I wanted. So much of the time you think you want these things, but when you look back on it you realize that you were actually lucky not to get it.
You know, when I first moved out here it was like you would have to sign a contract for 6 years to do a television series before you even auditioned for it. So before you were even reading it you were signing away 6 years of your life, so I was very lucky not to have gotten any parts on those shows, because I wouldn’t have had the freedom to explore.
I had dodged a few bullets, and I knew that I had been lucky and that one of these shows I was gonna get on was gonna work, and then I would be in it for 6 years. So I’m happy for those things that I didn’t get. I don’t think you can focus on the things you didn’t do, you know?
I never took it that seriously to the point where it affected me in a way that I would quit or something. They’re just movies at the end of the day. I mean it’s a great luxury to be able to make them, and I feel very lucky to have this job. I think it’s one of the best jobs in the world.
Are you more a light guy like, “Oh life is flowers and sun.”, or like, “Life is a tough place.”?
You know it depends on the day. I think, especially in ... I don’t know why they’re mutually exclusive. I don’t think you can separate them. I think that it’s very easy to find the humor ... sometimes you have to kind of laugh to keep from crying. They’re both there, it just depends on your perspective whether you see them or not, or which one do you focus on.
When you moved to LA at 16 years old, I’m sure you had a dream but, are you living this dream right now?
I came here to make films, and not only do I get to make them but I get to make films like this with people that I respect. I feel very lucky. I’ve worked hard for it, but I also was lucky. What’s frustrating is that I know so many talented people that have not had the same luck, and it’s frustrating because they equally deserve it. It’s just one of those things that you have to have that luck as well, so I’m grateful that I’ve had.