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Following their success with Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance reunite for the fathers-and-sons drama The Place Beyond The Pines.|
We shouldn’t be surprised that writer-director Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling would want to reunite. Blue Valentine was one of the most enthusiastically reviewed films of 2011, the touching portrait of a tattered marriage.
Set in upstate New York, their second collaboration The Place Beyond The Pines is a very different film, a compelling crime drama told in three distinct chapters that is, ultimately, about the legacy fathers pass on to their sons.
Gosling is one of those fathers, a motorcycle-riding bank robber from the wrong side of the tracks with a child by Eva Mendes and a dagger-and-tear tattoo combo under his left eye; Bradley Cooper is the other, a conflicted small-town cop who Gosling’s Luke encounters at the peak of his bank-robbing escapades. The two men’s fates become intertwined forever in Cianfrance’s ambitious tale.
Did your experience on Blue Valentine convince you to work together again?
Ryan Gosling: We had actually talked about this before Blue Valentine. I was telling Derek how I always wanted to rob banks but I’m scared of jail. But if I was going to do it, I would do it on a motorcycle and drive into a U-Haul at the end. He said, “That’s crazy. I just wrote a script about that.”
Derek Cianfrance: It’s a movie about legacy. It’s about what we pass on. I started writing it right before my second son was born and I was thinking about thisf eeling I’d had inside of me my whole life, this fire that had helped me do things but was also very destructive, and how I didn’t want my son to have that.
How did you develop Luke’s striking look?
RG: We talked about that myth, Parsifal and the Red Knight. That’s what I used. But with Derek, you’re not allowed to take your decisions lightly. The face tattoo was the last straw. I thought, I’ve gone too far, I don’t want to have that tattoo on my face this whole movie. But Derek said, That’s what happens when you get a face tattoo; that’s how you feel. Now you’re stuck with it.
The motorcycle escapes are thrilling. How were they to shoot?
DC: My reference point for those scenes was Cops and America’s Wildest Police Chases, not anything in the movies. Ryan had to learn how to ride a motorcycle very well because there were takes where he had to rob a bank, get on his motorcycle, and drive through an intersection avoiding 36 cars. And he had to do it 22 times.
Were you scared, Ryan?
RG: Once you lose the fear, you’re in trouble. But when I was a kid, I was walking to school and I saw this guy get hit on his motorcycle by a car. He was laying on the ground and blood was coming out of his head and my first thought was, “I’ve got to get a motorcycle.” They put a spell on you.
Racing cars, riding motorcycles, robbing banks: what else would you like to do in a film?
RG: I don’t know. Derek, what’s next?
DC: Submarines! I’m doing an HBO series called Muscle which I’d love Ryan to do. But he’d have to gain 80lbs of muscle – and I don’t think I can do that to him.
What is it about Ryan that makes you want to keep working with him?
RG: [laughing] The fact that I look like Derek.
DC: Exactly! No, Ryan’s just a magic person. He makes the world a better place and he makes me a better filmmaker.