The charming actor speaks to Fabian Waintal of his latest role and working alongside the original film’s hero, Harrison Ford
He’s been the star of the year with La La Land winning the Academy Awards. Now, Ryan Gosling keeps the flame burning heading into the future, with the second version of Blade Runner. To get an exclusive interview with him, we flew out to Las Vegas before the launch presentation of the futuristic blockbuster, to talk about what else? The future, just like his movie.
You starred in “the” movie of 2016 and now you’re going to be in “the” movie of 2017. How does that feel?
I feel so lucky to be able to work right now, with the people that I’m working with, and making the kind of films I’m making.
And with that feeling of lucky, does it feel like work when you travel to Las Vegas to literally talk about the future of the new Blade Runner movie?
I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to say that I had a fun time making it (laughs). It’s fun to be in Vegas and to be premiering this now, because a big portion of the films was shot in Las Vegas (the year being 2049). It was incredible to watch them try to recreate Las Vegas.
You moved from Canada to Hollywood? What was it like and what future were you expecting?
It was scary because as much as I’d seen L.A. in the movies and I knew I needed to come here, it’s a big city and it’s hard to find your way in it when you don’t know anyone. It took me probably five years before I started to feel like I was getting to know it, but the beauty of Los Angeles is that you’re constantly getting to know it. I’ve lived here since I was sixteen and I’m always discovering a new area or a new level or a new element to it that I didn’t know existed.
How easy was IT beginning as an actor, coming from another country?
I spent a lot of time trying to work here and not having a permit, so it was hard for a long time before I finally got a green card. And even more difficult because people wouldn’t hire you for smaller roles because it wasn’t worth it for them to pay for your permit. In a way, it helped because you could only audition for big roles. Because those were the only roles that if you got them, people would pay for your permit. So, it kind of forced me to aim high. I feel very lucky to have gotten to make films in the United States about the country showing the different facets of it. There’s the aspect of it where you’re just driving around at night, sort-of isolated in your car and we tried to capture that feeling in Drive and there’s this part of La La Land where you’re surrounded by history and now, I’m into the future with Blade Runner.
Are you coming back with another film as a director?
Yeah, I have two films that I’m getting ready to direct. I’m figuring out which one. One is a musical, which I was going to do before La La Land. I’ve had this Busby Berkeley project for a long time, it’s just taken a while to develop it. It’s an incredible experience to direct a film because making movies, I think, is the greatest job there is. When you’re an actor, it’s incredible, but the ride only goes so far. As a filmmaker, you have the full experience.
Did fatherhood change your future forever, too?
It changes it for the better, your life becomes better than you ever thought it could be. And…
Protective of what?
Protecting your child from dangers, saying “Don’t touch that” all the time?
Now you mean in my own life, do I get more protective? Sure, yeah, everything is a potential danger. Ten heart attacks a day (Laughs).
Have they seen any of your movies yet?
No, they’re too little. They’re just babies. We’ll see what happens… in 2049 (Laughs).
What do you think this movie is showing us that could happen in the future?
I think that’s what’s exciting about the world of Blade Runner. Ridley [Scott] and the original film grounded it so much. It felt very possible somehow, which is what was so daunting about it. In some ways, I don’t know if he predicted it or if it’s life imitating art, but he was right about a lot of things. It just feels much grounded and very human. I think what’s wonderful of science fiction is you need to create enough of a distance from reality that allows the audiences to further get emotionally charged so that there’s more objectivity.
When did you first watch the movie?
When I was old enough, I think about 13 or 14, and I was just blown away at how influential this film (Blade Runner) had really been. Not really in film, but in my reality as well. It was quite a prophetic film in many ways. It was a world that had influenced the one I grew up in, so it was so surreal to be there. To become a part of it, it’s hard to say how special that was, but it was really a wonderful experience.
Did you feel the pressure while filming the movie to be doing the second part of such an iconic movie?
Yes, it was an excitement as well to bring this to the films. I’m one of the fans. It’s been 30 years in the making. It was thrilling for us, as fans, to go back into that universe, live in that world, and help carry on the narrative. And Ridley wrote the story with Hampton Fancher who wrote the original story and he chose Denis [Villenueve] to direct the film. Denis is such an incredible filmmaker. Plus, Ruter Hauer is shooting it and Harrison [Ford] is back in his role. I just felt luckier than anything to be surrounded with such great people and talented craftsmen and to be allowed to be a part of that universe that I’ve grown up with.
Was it hard to stay in character?
It was so surreal to be walking around in the universe of Blade Runner. The craftsmanship of this film was really on another level. Every location was real, every set was there, and every prop was functional. It was a fully functioning living, breathing world. It made it easy for us in the end, to just focus on the internal world of these characters because the external world was fully realised and was richer with detail.
Was it easier to work along Harrison Ford, too?
He’s such a wonderful actor and a great guy. He wanted to extend the story, felt like there was more to tell. It was truly such a pleasure working together.
And now, that time when Harrison Ford punched Ryan Gosling.