You can never have enough Ryan Gosling in your life, as we all well know. So it is our delight to report that this year’s Cannes Film Festival features a double dose of the Gos. Next week we’ll get to see everyone’s favorite stopper of fights and saver of women in peril get the living shit beaten out of him when he debuts the extremely dark, extremely violent Only God Forgives, his second movie with Nicolas Winding Refn, who won the Best Director prize for Drive last time he was at Cannes two years ago. The Gos, we hear, is deep into filming his directorial debut, How To Catch a Monster, and may not make it to Cannes in the flesh this year. So until we know more, there is his very funny, can’t-miss appearance as himself in the James Toback and Alec Baldwin documentary about the cutthroat, demoralizing business side of movie-making, Seduced & Abandoned, which will air on HBO this summer.
The film follows Baldwin and Toback around Cannes as they try to raise money to do a remake of Last Tango in Paris starring Baldwin and Neve Campbell (theirs will be called Last Tango in Tikrit, and it’s never made explicitly clear whether they’re really serious about making this movie; the point is to prove that they couldn’t make something like that today with that cast). Talking to financiers, they realize that the cast they have is worth, says Baldwin, “about four dollars and fifty cents,” and the only way they’ll get their $15-$20 million ask is by casting someone like Gosling, so they go ahead and try to pitch him.
He doesn’t sign on to the hypothetical movie, but does give them a delightful interview about his Hollywood career so far, revealing that his first onstage performance was with his Elvis impersonator uncle when he was three; describing in hilarious detail what it was like to go to auditions as a no-name actor when casting agents would take cell phone calls in the middle of his scenes; comparing L.A. to a land of Don Quixotes (“We’ve all had the same dream, but no one is sure if it’s a premonition or an illusion”); and telling the story of how as a little kid, he was so movie-obsessed the only way his mother could punish him was by taking them away from him. “I loved movies so much,” he jokes (I think), “sometimes, I’d shove them down the front of my pants. I liked the way they feel.” The best Gos moment, though, is his vivid tale of the time he thought he might die on a nose-diving airplane. Everyone else was looking into the eyes of the person next to them, because this was the person they were going to die with, says Gosling … “and my first instinct is to finish my steak.”