Andrew Collins: EU Gosling Mountain

Can you have too much of a good thing, if that thing is Ryan Gosling?

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Honestly, you wait all year for a Ryan Gosling film and then three come along at once. On the same Friday in September, he roared onto our screens in Drive, an 18-certificate, violent, flashy, Tarantino-esque thriller, and womanised onto the same screens – or at least, different screens but in the same cinemas – in Crazy, Stupid, Love, a 12A-certificate, sweet, smart, big-hearted romantic comedy.

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With two demographic bases covered, if you went to the cinema to see a new movie that week, the chances are it had Ryan Gosling in it. I know somebody who went to see both on the same day. 

Clearly, distribution schedules are outside Ryan Gosling’s control. But it must be nice to have your name in big letters and your criminally handsome face on two posters in the same week. (Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love came out two months apart in the States.) That makes three Gosling films in one calendar year so far in the UK, as his previous film, Blue Valentine, opened here on 14 January during the traditionally fertile pre-Oscar season. 

Mr Gosling, you are spoiling us! But wait – it doesn’t end there. He makes it four in a week’s time, when George Clooney’s The Ides of March is released. In this keenly anticipated political drama, Gosling plays an idealistic adviser to Clooney’s career Democrat.

Now, he’s a fine actor, and it’s easy to see why someone with such easy charisma, subtle licks and innate photogenic charm might suddenly be every casting director’s dream, but with Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love still playing in many UK cinemas, we’ll soon be looking at an EU-style Gosling Mountain. The question is: can you have too much of a good thing?

I remember my mum bringing home two huge bags of broken biscuits when we were kids, passed on to her by a friend who worked in a biscuit factory. We naturally wished that our mum worked in a biscuit factory. But she cautioned us that if she did, and brought home biscuits every day, we’d soon get sick of them. (We couldn’t countenance this, but she was probably right.)

Michael Fassbender is another reliable leading man who’s in demand. We’ve seen his blue eyes, square jaw and lithe frame twice this year in Jane Eyre and X-Men: First Class, and in January, it looks like a Gosling-style bottleneck as his next two films, Shame and Haywire, are released within a week of one another. 

Then there’s Emma Stone. She’s in The Help, which is out next week, and she’s in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and she’s been in Friends with Benefits. Her workload is curving exponentially – she was only in one film, Easy A, last year, but it was her first lead and seemed to open the floodgates of offers.

Also in The Help is Jessica Chastain, relatively unknown a year ago, but this year she’s been seen in The Debt, The Tree of Life and Texas Killing Fields, with Take Shelter imminent and Coriolanus in January. 

Chastain is brilliant. So is Gosling. So I’m torn. It’s nice to see an actor’s career taking off. And there’s usually a good reason why their name spreads like a rash – their face fits, they capture the zeitgeist, they draw a crowd, they win an award or, in Stone’s case, they start placing in men’s magazines’ Hot Babes lists – but when the films arrive like bags of biscuits, overexposure can result. And my mum was right: you can get sick of biscuits.

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Actors are self-employed. They take the work where they can get it. Tomorrow it could be somebody else: their face no longer fits, they no longer capture the zeitgeist, their last film bombed, and it suddenly seems like an age since they came 49th in Maxim magazine’s Sexy Ladeez 100.