Ryan Gosling is funny. Not just personable and charming, but he's gut-busting hilarious. And the actor's Nice Guys co-star, Russell Crowe, can attest. "Do you know what corpsing is?" Crowe asks. "Corpsing is a theatrical term where, whether on stage or on camera, you laugh inappropriately. You can take the 49 movies [I did] prior to Nice Guys , and the amount of times I corpsed on camera in that entire slate of 49 movies would be less than any given week of working with Ryan."
You heard it from the seasoned vet himself, folks. But it makes sense. Nice Guys, directed by Shane Black, follows a not-so-nice detective (Gosling), and a thug (Crowe) who team up to find a missing porn star. The only problem is that they both suck at completing the task, and Gosling is a magnet for hurting himself. The script is ripe for physical comedy, which Gosling delivers flawlessly in nearly every scene.
"He's a funny m*therf*cker," Crowe says. "There's a bit of footage from when we're in the elevator and [the director] can see I'm finding it very hard to keep a straight face. [I've] got that look where you've been laughing so hard it looks like you're a little bit drunk. Your eyes are watering, and you just hear Shane's vice go, 'Ryan, please! Don't make him laugh this time!'"
Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that set. And for Gosling, the comedic tone of the film, and specifically the physical comedy he would get to employ, was a real draw to the film set in the 1970s. "I saw it as an opportunity to do a lot of physical comedy," the 35-year-old actor says. "On our first day I went to set early to work out the bathroom stall door gag," he says. (For the uninitiated, the bathroom stall gag is a scene in which Gosling's character is ambushed by Crowe's character while he's sitting on the toilet. Potty humor? Check.)
"I thought I was alone, and then I smelled smoke and there was Russell smoking, watching me. He very seriously said, 'I think if you hit [the stall door] with your other leg it will bounce back farther.' We started having a very serious conversation about the stupidest thing ever, and I knew it was gonna be fun."
The Nice Guys isn't the first time Gosling has taken on a comedic role, however. In Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gosling plays an uber-stylish, douchebag player type. While Gosling's character in the film couldn't seem further from the real life man, it's difficult not to laugh when he throws a pair of ugly running shoes off a ledge at a mall, or when he stands naked, spread-eagle, in front of Steve Carell's face. For once, it was Carell who was playing the straight man.
But in The Nice Guys audiences will get a further glimpse into Gosling's comedic abilities, because these moments present themselves every few minutes. But with such physical, slap-sticky comedy, someone was bound to get hurt, right?
"I got hurt a lot," Gosling admits, revealing that he did most of his own stunts. "But I couldn't say anything about it because my stunt guy just came from Fury where his friend bayoneted him, and impaled him, so I couldn't really complain about anything that was happening to me, unfortunately."
Injuries were the least of it, though, according to the father of two. The most difficult scenes to shoot were, "any scene where we were pretending it was hot, because we were shooting in the winter in Atlanta. The whole last sequence took about a week. I had fallen into the pool earlier in the scene so for that whole scene I had to be wet. We shot at night, it was negative 10 degrees, and these very nice people come at you and hose you down every half an hour," he says. "My best acting to date was just acting like I was warm in those scenes."
It sounds like hell, but lucky for audiences, it translates to pure comedic gold on screen. The Nice Guys hits theaters May 20 — just don't sit next to giggling Russell Crowe while you watch it, or you won't be able to hear a dang thing.
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