Yesterday, it was a beautiful sunny day at the ‘Blue Valentine’ red carpet at the Ryerson Theatre and it was fitting that on such a lovely afternoon I met Ryan Gosling. He brought the girls out of the woodwork. Of the approximately one hundred people pressed up in a line along the fence of the red carpet, I think there were just four guys. The fans were all holding cameras, some had pictures of his face, and I even saw one who brought flowers. They shrieked every time he faced them. It’s all “still surreal” to him, he told me.
For all the artificiality of the red carpet, Gosling comes off as a down-to-earth guy. He’s not an average Joe, but he’s genuine. He was relaxed and answered questions carefully, though he didn’t pander to reporters. When asked what type of husband he would be (loving? caring?) he sarcastically joked that no, he wouldn’t be a loving husband.
Williams and Gosling’s performances as a dysfunctional couple have gotten early Oscar buzz. When asked about working with Williams, who wasn’t able to attend the premiere, Gosling said “she’s the best.” He explained that it was because they were very good friends before making the movie that they were able to explore a deeper, darker chemistry on screen, allowing them to “go places that we otherwise couldn’t have” with the characters.
As we were talking, 6-year-old Faith Wladyka, Ryan and Michelle’s daughter in the film, came up to us. Gosling picked her up and held her on his hip while I asked her what her favourite part about shooting the film was. Gosling egged her on to “say Ryan.” Wladyka obliged. “He’s goofy,” she giggled.
A reporter beside me began asking Gosling about what his Mom thinks when he takes a woman home. “You’re going to ask an untoward question with a kid here?” said Gosling mockingly. After putting Wladyka down and ushering her away he continued to answer the questions. But when asked what the sexiest thing about him is, he had enough. He gave me a look that said “who is this guy?” and then curtly replied to the reporter that “we should not have this conversation” and moved on.
The director, Derek Cianfrance, came up next. I asked him whether or not it was difficult working with a child on such a serious movie. “It’s fun working with kids, I have two kids of my own,” replied Cianfrance. “We just try to make it games for her.”
“For instance with the oatmeal, she’s supposed to not like oatmeal. But she loves oatmeal. So I told Michelle to put a little salt in the oatmeal so she wouldn’t like it.
“Pretty soon by the eleventh take she was putting in so much salt and she was still loving it. Finally she was just stuffed, so I finally got my take when she just couldn’t eat any more oatmeal.”
After the red carpet, I had a couple hours before heading over to the Festival Music House at the Roosevelt Room for the third and final night of all-Canadian performances. The venue was packed. I was struck by how eclectic the crowd was. It was full with a mish-mash of industry business types, artist folk, and a smattering of media people like me. I arrived in time to catch BEAST. On their MySpace page, they call their genre “Experimental/Trip Hop.” It can also be described as hip-hop meets spaghetti western. (Singer Betty Bonifassi even mentioned a song was inspired by Ennio Morricone). After BEAST was Zeus, a long-haired rock n’roll band who sounded straight out of the early 70s. The night was capped off with a performance from the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie.
I took off just as George Strombolopolous walked in. That’s a lot of Canada in one room.