The La La Land Best Picture snafu at the Oscars is not slowing down Ryan Gosling's momentum as one of Hollywood's busiest actors. While the 36-year-old has three movies in various stages of production for 2017 — including one where he plays Neil Armstrong — Gosling is reportedly developing The Underwater Welder as well, according to io9. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, the story follows a man who is overwhelmed by the prospect of fatherhood, and ends up venturing so far undersea in the course of his job that he encounters his father's ghost.
While the premise may sound a bit like an underwater Field of Dreams, it features a complex main character named Jack Joseph, who Gosling would be perfect for. Since the project is in its early stages, no writer, director, or actors are attached just yet. Gosling is signed on as a producer, so there's no guarantee he will star in the film — although, he has starred in two out of the five movies he produced in the past (Blue Valentine and Only God Forgives).
Not starring in The Underwater Welder would be a mistake for Gosling. With the right writer and director, the movie has Oscar bait written all of over it. The Academy is sure to fall for the story of a man working in one of the most dangerous professions in the world and struggling with what it means to be a good dad.
Gosling is one of the best actors of his generation. He may only have two Oscar nods to his name, but he has a laundry list of knockout roles, starting with Half Nelson and continuing through to 2016's The Nice Guys (in which he arguably gave an even better performance than he did in La La Land). Jack Joseph could be the character who takes him all the way to Oscar victory.
Awards glory aside, it would be nice to see Gosling lose himself in another dramatic role. When The Underwater Welder was released in 2012, it landed on a number of best graphic novels of the year lists, both for its stunning art and its depth of story. It takes a fantastic premise, and attaches it to a universal fear — are you capable of being a good parent, especially when your own parent is no longer there to offer you guidance? It's a beautiful story with the potential to make an outstanding film.
Hopefully, The Underwater Welder won't get stuck in development purgatory, and Gosling will be the one who brings Jack to life onscreen. If the right team is assembled, the movie could take Gosling — or whatever lucky actor lands the lead role — all the way to the Oscars.