Ryan Gosling covers GQ’s new Summer Issue ahead of the release of what could very well be the movie of the summer. That’s Barbie, of course. And he’s Ken or, rather, a Ken, so the pink coat on the cover is a nice touch. 


Before last year’s The Gray Man, it had been a few years between projects for Ryan Gosling. So this GQ profile works as kind of a reintroduction to an actor who’s already recognised as a movie star but who seems to be approaching movie stardom differently. 

Because for a long time, Ryan Gosling, while very, very famous, didn’t make big movie star movies. Most of his work was moody and esoteric and Serious, with a capital “S”, and his whole vibe was Serious. Ryan Gosling, the Serious Actor. After taking time off to be with Eva Mendes and their two young daughters though, he has returned to the spotlight in roles that the kids would describe as… Unserious. Who, after all, is more unserious than Ken? Even the way Ryan talks about Ken, and specifically the complaints from the internet that he was cast to play Ken, is unserious: 


This is not the Ryan Gosling of a decade ago. And in this interview, he gets into how his perspective has changed, why he said yes to Barbie, why he’s saying yes to bigger projects, films that more people will see, and isn’t just sticking with independent films about weirdos with maybe nine lines of dialogue over two hours. Basically what it amounts to is… he got over himself. 

“There’s something about this Ken that really, I think, relates to that version of myself. Just, like, the guy that was putting on Hammer pants and dancing at the mall and smelling like Drakkar Noir and Aqua Net-ing bangs. I owe that kid a lot. I feel like I was very quick to distance myself from him when I started making more serious films. But the reality is that, like, he’s the reason I have everything I have.”

Gosling says he’s been thinking about that kid a lot recently: “He didn’t know what he was doing or why he was doing it, he was just doing it, and it’s like, I owe my whole life to him. And I wish I had been more grateful at the time, you know?” 


And now he’s the guy who used to show up to the set of Crazy, Stupid, Love trying to find his “motivation” to the guy who’s playing a character described like this: 

Sounds like Ryan Gosling has figured out that you don’t have to take yourself too seriously but you can still be serious about the work. And it sounds like this started happening around the time he and Eva Mendes became parents. These two rarely talk about their relationship, understandably, so this is the most forthcoming he’s been (and it’s not really all that forthcoming) about what they have kept super private. They’ve been together since 2011, when they worked together on The Place Beyond the Pines. And that’s the only red carpet they’ve ever walked together, at the TIFF premiere. Not even once since then, not even during the La La Land Oscar run. 


Doesn’t seem like that’s about to change but it’s undeniable that his approach to his career shifted because of the life that they’ve built together outside of their collective celebrity. He takes on fewer projects now so that he can spend more time at home. And having children of his own has brought back why he was so drawn to movies when he was a kid, and igniting in him the desire to make movies that might have the same influence. 

“Look, the irony is that the movies that I’ve made so many of, I didn’t grow up watching independent films. We didn’t have an art house theater. I didn’t know anything about the kinds of films that I was in, you know? I didn’t have any real frame of reference. All I had was, like, my Blockbuster knowledge.”

In the video store he’d go to in Cornwall, “it was all bigger films, and most of them were action films or comedies,” Gosling says. “That’s why I loved movies. It’s those films that made me want to do this. Like, obviously I learned more about film, and I feel very lucky to have gotten to make the movies that I’ve made. But it’s cool to be in a phase of my life where I’m getting to make the kinds of things that inspired me to make film in general.”

So…“kid me, this kid you want me to go and talk to?” Gosling says. “He would like Barbie more than The Believer, you know?” 


He’s not wrong. This kid would definitely be into Barbie and dreamed of being Ken. 

To read the full GQ interview with Ryan Gosling, click here.