The other day, several bloggers were invited to a Ryan Gosling roundtable at the Four Seasons (audio of the interview at the end of this post). The junket took up a giant suite which had the lovely publicists in one room, with a giant flat screen TV with Drive clips playing on it, and a whole room devoted to beverages. Deeper inside was the lunch area. Sandwiches, shrimp salad and little fudgy squares were there for hungry people kept waiting about twenty minutes for some time with Mr. Gosling.
As we waited in the front room I got to listen like a fly on the wall to the bloggers I didn’t know. One held a Canon camera and was waiting to snap a few photos of Mr. Gosling, if given the opportunity. But bringing a camera to these things is always risky – no studio wants to be responsible for some non-approved weird shot of their star. So usually you aren’t allowed to photograph them unless they’re at a photocall, on the red carpet or out on the street. It’s considered rude to even ask but most of us will ask anyway. It doesn’t matter much as one look at Gosling and you never forget it. I was part of a roundtable in Cannes with Gosling and Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine and you are immediately struck by the light blue of his eyes. Every writing class in the world tells you not to describe blue using the sky but with Gosling there isn’t any other blue that can compare with it – and they’re like an Oklahoma sky. Gosling has, as David Byrne would say, a face with a view. It takes you a few minutes to work your way down from his eyes to his neck and then shoulders. Yes, to interview Ryan Gosling is to be physically uncomfortable for a few hours.
But we’re supposed to be professionals, all of us, even though most people wouldn’t know us in a room full of other writers – as bloggers we might have big voices online and an audience but out there in the real world we have to fight amongst the Darwinian forces at play like everyone else.
The talk drifted from movie to movie, opinions flying outward that themselves identified a person in a group: that’s a person who liked Drive. That’s a person who didn’t. That’s a person who liked Tree of Life. That’s a person who likes everything. Every so often a journalist or blogger would approach the publicists and ask if it was their time. “Not quite,” they were told. “But we have to make a screening at 2pm on the Westside,” many of them were saying. And, as we all do in these situations, I wondered why I hadn’t been invited to that screening and what movie it was. You see, we bloggers are always measuring our own clout amongst each other, which is silly ultimately, but unavoidable in a competitive business.
No one really could have complained about the time delay, what with the free lunch and lovely digs for the afternoon. I wished I’d brought my laptop or ipad2 so that I could whip it out and look like a major douche. I was hoping no one asked me who I was and what I did. Thankfully, no one did.
About twenty minutes after I’d eaten a piece of chocolate cake I really wish I hadn’t (only bloggers eat at these things – Hollywood types never do, which is why they are so thin and we are, well, not) a group of us were brought into the room where Gosling would be joining us. A round table, interestingly enough, and a sound guy were there – I was in last so I didn’t get a seat next to Gosling, but across from him would have to do.
A minute or so later Gosling came in – there was recording instruments all pointed at him like a firing squad. He flinched a little at this but was also ready to roll with it. He was dressed casually, but looked like he does on screen except a little bit taller. He answered our questions, I thought, honestly, without giving us canned responses. I don’t know if this is because we were the first group or because that’s how he is in interviews. He was more forthcoming with us than he’d been in Cannes with Michelle Williams at his side, that’s because he seemed, then, protective of her.
And his protectiveness came through during our roundtable. When an older female reporter (I am “older” too so I don’t consider this an insult but just to help you understand the scenario) tried to get a word in edgewise but was about to get trampled, Gosling put a hand on her shoulder and said “wait, she hasn’t gotten to answer a question yet.” At that moment, even the windows of the Four Seasons melted a little in their frames.
Yeah, this is celebrity worship at its absolute worst, as we are wont to do, but just to say that you can’t really avoid such a reaction him — it’s just not possible, I’m afraid.
So here is the audio of that rountable – I think you will be surprised at how candid and interesting Gosling’s answers are.