Ryan Gosling, who is known for the acclaimed roles he’s delivered in complex dramas like “Blue Valentine,” “The Notebook” and “Half Nelson” (for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar), takes on his first-ever comedic role as ladies’ man Jacob Palmer in Warner Bros.’ new romantic comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
Gosling describes Jacob as “sort of this guy who haunts this bar, and then he notices that Steve’s character is being even creepier than he is, so he figures he can teach him to be a Lothario. But the truth is that Jacob’s at the end of his heyday. He’s lost his luster and he’s kind of trying to pass on the baton.”
Based on an original screenplay from writer Dan Fogelman, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” follows the trials and tribulations of Cal (Steve Carrell), a man whose seemingly idyllic world is upended when his marriage falls apart. Thrust into the world of singledom, Cal, who hasn’t been single in decades, certainly has his work cut out for him. Spending his nights alone sulking at a local bar, he soon meets something of a savior in the form of Jacob. Taking pity on the hapless Cal, Jacob decides to take the middle-aged marital refugee under his wing in an attempt to help him win back his self-confidence, starting with a decent haircut and new wardrobe, and begin living his life again.
Doing comedy opposite Carell, Gosling says, “was just easy. There’s not much you can throw at him that he won’t hit. But he’s also very gracious. He finds out where your strengths are and then finds a way to play to them. I mean, Steve makes you funny… He doesn’t have that in mind, but he finds out what you can do and then he gives you opportunities to highlight that, to feature it.”
“Our first order of business was casting Jacob, because the Cal-Jacob relationship is pivotal to the film,” Producer Denise Di Novi says. “We didn’t necessarily associate Ryan with comedy, but I think because the characters in this movie have so much depth and are so complicated and so rich, and because there are dramatic elements to the story as well, he thought he could really sink his teeth into it. And then, of course, we realized how funny he is.”
Carell recalls, “Ryan is so fantastic, and it struck me from day one how comedically gifted he is. And as funny as he could be, he also made a character that was cocky and arrogant so endearing.”
To play Jacob, Gosling did his homework. “He’s really kind of a jackass,” he shares, “a knucklehead with a heart of gold who has this sort of twisted wisdom he thinks he should pass on. So I watched this TV show about a pick-up artist and read a couple of books about foolproof strategies for hitting on women. They are kind of terrifying, but I did manage to get some inspiration from them for Jacob.”
“We were awed by Ryan,” co-director John Requa says. “His insights into the character and the story were remarkable, and the interplay between him and Steve was just perfect.”
Co-director Glenn Ficarra concurs. “They had a definite chemistry and really enjoyed working together, so for us it was just a matter of capturing that.”
“Ryan is just an amazing actor, one of the smartest I’ve ever worked with,” says Ficarra. “His character, Jacob, is just this guy who’s become the perfect ladies’ man. It’s like he’s honed it down over the years to such an art form that it’s become almost scientific, like a calculation. That’s where we needed him in the story. And he plays it perfectly.”
“Ryan also brings an intelligence and a back-story to it,” adds Requa. “He sets this character apart from being just some typical womanizer. He makes it much more complex than that.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, “Crazy, Stupid Love” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.