Many people fell in love with Gosling after he played Noah Calhoun in the 2004 romantic film The Notebook. More than a decade after the Canada native portrayed the male lead alongside Rachel McAdams, author Nicholas Sparks revealed that not many actors wanted to audition.
“It was really interesting because a lot of the actors said, ‘Well, what’s Noah’s arc?’” Sparks told IMDB in 2016. “It’s a guy who falls in love and then he just kinda does nothing, and then waits for her to show up and then he’s there and he’s still in love and then at the end of the film, well, he’s still in love. Where’s the arc?”
Sparks noted that, when Gosling came in, “he really brought that story to life.”
“[Cassavettes] called me to meet him at his house,” the Blue Valentine star explained during an interview with Company magazine in 2012. “When I got there, he was standing in his backyard, and he looked at me and said, ‘I want you to play this role because you’re not like the other young actors out there in Hollywood. You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.’”
Gosling continued to make a name for himself when he appeared in the critically-acclaimed film La La Land alongside Emma Stone. The romantic comedy stood out because of its musical component, which the Golden Globe winner wasn’t expecting at first.
“But, at the heart of it, it’s about these two people and it’s about their relationship, so it felt like it was accessible, even if you didn’t like musicals, you know?” he told The Flare in 2016. “The only way it would work was if there was a consistency of characters so it didn’t feel like they were suddenly different people while they were singing and dancing, and then went back to being the people who were talking five minutes earlier.”
While reflecting on the success of the film, Gosling agreed that the performances were “very powerful.”
“You can feel it in this movie when the numbers happen. It lifts you and takes you somewhere only it can,” he added at the time.
“I try not to discriminate against budget, but they never felt right. I’m glad I waited. [Blade Runner] was one of the first films that I saw that I didn’t know how to feel when it was over,” he shared with Entertainment Weekly in 2017. “The line between heroes and villains was so blurred. It’s not a hero’s journey in any way. When I was a kid that was the storyline I had seen. Thematically, there’s just so much there — it was rich, it was melancholy, it was romantic. It’s so special. So many other things have stolen ideas from it, but they could never steal its soul. I felt lucky to enter that world.”
Scroll down for a look at how Gosling went from boyishly charming child star to one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men: