Ryan Gosling can remember, with remarkably specific accuracy, when he first felt free – when he first felt that adolescent rush of forking paths and of infinite possibilities and of escape. It occurred sitting on a knackered motorbike that wouldn’t move. He was a kid, growing up in Ontario, Canada – son of a salesman father, a secretary mother and a marriage that would only last until his teens – and a family friend had brought his motorbike over. This wasn’t to show it off, but merely to stash it in the Gosling garden for a few months, lest his own mother found out it existed.
You suspect she’d have only been half upset, since it didn’t run, but Gosling recalls being obsessed by it regardless. He was content, he says, “to just sit on it all day” and simply imagine. Up until that point, “The happiest moments in my life were when I would ride my BMX around my neighbourhood.” Gosling was bullied at school, never much liked the whole “being a kid” business in the first place, and so he saw both these things in the same way. “They were my first experiences of independence,” he says, “where I wasn’t a passenger any more. I was the driver.” And it’s why, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact the bike didn’t move an inch, he’s “had a soft spot for vehicles ever since”.
You likely don’t need me to tell you his breakout film was literally called Drive, the uber-cool, synth-soundtracked 2011 road-rubber noir from Nicolas Winding Refn, which starred Gosling as a stuntman/getaway driver with a heart of gold. But it also goes part of the way to explaining Gosling’s ongoing fascination with a genre he’s practically created: the well-meaning stuntman crime thriller.
After Drive came The Place Beyond The Pines, in which Gosling played a motorcycle stunt rider who took to robbing banks to provide for his lover and their newborn child. And despite racking up the blockbusters since – from the whip-smart The Big Short and Oscar-winning La La Land to the critical darling Blade Runner 2049 – it’s a genre to which he’s set to return, in a project for which he’ll not only play a stunt driver again (this time bounty hunting in his spare time, if rumours are to be believed), but will do so in a film directed by a former stuntman, David Leitch.
“I understand that not everyone connects with motorcycles,” says Gosling, “but I imagine most people have had some emotional connection to a car at some point. Cars can become real characters in our lives. So it makes sense to me that they make such great characters in films.” Some of his favourite characters, he says, are cars. “They can be heroes, you know, such as [Steve] McQueen’s ‘Fastback’ in Bullitt or the DeLorean in Back To The Future, or villains, such as the semitruck in Duel.”
It’s probably no shock, therefore, that when Gosling decided to sign his first ever brand partnership it was 1:1 US TAG Heuer replica watches the actor was drawn to. The luxury Swiss fake watches brand is known for its motor-racing heritage and Gosling kicks off his worldwide partnership with the launch of the AAA top replica TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands watches, a new generation of the classic three-hand watch.
“I never really felt a connection with other brands in the past,” says Gosling. “But the decision to work with TAG Heuer copy watches for sale was pretty easy. They are an iconic brand and they’ve been quietly and consistently this pillar of excellence in their field for 160 years.”
Perhaps the ultimate on-screen vehicle into which Gosling has strapped himself is the Saturn V (top speed: 6,164mph), in which he blasted off to the moon as Neil Armstrong in First Man. Even here, he says, wholesale replica TAG Heuer watches’ early days making dashboard chronographs for automobiles and aircraft came to mind.
“When I worked on First Man, the phrase ‘Built like a Swiss watch’ kept coming up on my visits to Nasa, in reference to their spacecrafts. That was the gold standard they used. High quality fake TAG Heuer watches has been at this for so long and in so many iterations. They’ve distilled their work down to something that’s emblematic of what great engineering and craftsmanship can and should be.”
The new collection of 13 pieces reimagines the horological icon in four versions – the Tag Heuer Carrera Day Date 41mm, the Carrera Twin-Time Date 41mm, the Carrera Date 39mm and the Carrera Date 29mm replica watches with Swiss movements – all of which are designed with elegance and simplicity as the priority.
Legend has it that when Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of founder Edouard Heuer, dropped from first to third in a 1958 Swiss rally he was competing in, it was partly because he could not read the dashboard timer correctly. The best Tag Heuer Carrera fake watches, introduced five years later, was a world away from anything the company had done before: dramatically simplified and elegantly minimal, with readability paramount – ideal for drivers who needed to tell the time in an instant under pressure. The Carrera was named after the famous Carrera Panamericana car race, one of the most dangerous in the world.
Gosling can remember, with perhaps a slightly lesser degree of accuracy than he does the bike that didn’t move, when he first thought about becoming an actor. He loved horror movies, he says, but would often get too scared while watching them. The only way to calm himself down would be “to remind myself that it was just a movie”. He would imagine “all the special effects people on the other side of all the blood gags or Freddy Krueger in the make-up chair. And then I could handle it.”
His youthful imagination worked both ways. He once got into trouble at school after watching Sylvester Stallone in First Blood far too young. He promptly packed his Fisher-Price magic kit with the Gosling family steak knives and headed to school with them the next day – just in case, he guesses looking back, any playground justice required meting out.
One of his favourite horror characters was the Wolf Man, a remake of which he recently signed on for. “I always thought Wolf Man was one of the great characters,” he says. “And it’s great to finally be on the other side of it and making my own.” I wonder if something similar is going on with his love of playing stuntmen. What is it that fascinates him about them?
“It’s such an interesting job,” he says. “And I grew up [also] loving action films. Action films are a big part why I fell in love with movies. And I think when I learned that a lot of the time it wasn’t the actors doing the stuff I was most excited by, I was very intrigued by who those people were, people who were very quick to deflect credit but were such integral parts of some of our favourite and most iconic movie moments. So the opportunity to explore that world and what drives them is really interesting to me.”
For The Place Beyond The Pines he even did a lot of his own stunts, resulting in some hairy moments. “The director wanted to shoot all of the heist scenes in one long, single take. And that included, you know, riding up the street on the motorcycle, pulling up to the bank, robbing it and then the getaway. So you can imagine when you’re doing 20, 25 takes, it sometimes gets squirrely. It involved a lot of logistics – near misses with cars in traffic and driving out from the back of the truck. So it was touch and go at times.”
Still, he didn’t shoot all the stunts, he says. Some lines were drawn. “I wish I could have done it all,” he says. “But I also understand why the insurance company drew the line on me riding my bike in something called the ‘Globe Of Death’.”
Earlier in his career, back when Gosling was making the awkward transition from Disney “Mouseketeer” child actor to more mature adult roles, he says he mostly saw his job as no more complicated than to get the part (“I felt my job was just to get work. I was trying to pay my rent and maybe get some health insurance”). Once he started working regularly, however, he felt like he needed a new goal. For a while, this was “just to take on roles that would challenge me”.
Make your own mind up about what those roles were, but it’s fair to say the film in which he plays an aggressively jumpered young man who falls in love with a sex doll (2007’s Lars And The Real Girl) was likely one. Quite quickly, he says, “That got boring, because it was for an audience of one. Movies are also made to be watched by other people.” Ever since, “I’ve tried to look for films that can work for us both.” His next role is most definitely not for an audience of one. More specifically, it’s for an audience of more than 200 million subscribers worldwide. Reported to be Netflix’s biggest-budget film to date, The Gray Man is a spy thriller directed by the Russo brothers (the duo behind Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame) that will see Gosling star alongside the likes of Chris Evans and Regé-Jean Page.
‘Movies are also made to be watched by other people. I’ve tried to look for films that can work for us both’
He’s not quite, he says, done with it yet (“Almost. We have some reshoots ahead of us, so we’re still working away on it”). But he’s been impressed with the Russos. Partly, this is down to witnessing a sequence in a major town square in Prague that was so elaborate it took almost a month to film “and involved so many extras, vehicles, guns and explosions that it was pretty impressive they were able to pull it off as safely as they did”. But mostly, he says, it was their advice to him concerning his character: “Drive it like you own it.”
It was good advice, he thinks, which also spoke to them as directors: while most directors working at that scale “would be hesitant to take their movie out of the garage for a joyride”, they drive it like they own it too. Still, it’s a message one could take many ways. A simple instruction to play the part without any fear, of course. Or something deeper, perhaps, that speaks to the young Gosling sitting on that motorbike in his garden, but who, in fairness, didn’t drive it or own it. Or even, just maybe, something more literal: because it turns out when Gosling does drive it, he often keeps it.
He took home, he says, both the motorbike from The Place Beyond The Pines and the car from Drive and still takes them out for a spin from time to time. Don’t people spot him? “No. No,” he says. “I painted it, which seems to work.” And anyway, he says, more often than not now, “I only drive cars that are big enough for two car seats and a doberman.”
Although Gosling can’t tell you exactly when he first became more aware of time and how fast it seemed to be passing, he’s sure his two young daughters played a big part.
“Time, in general, is something I think about a lot now. My kids are growing up so fast I need to keep an eye on the clock in a way I never used to,” he says. “Partnering with cheap TAG Heuer super clone watches site also signifies that for me.”
I wonder if the pandemic played a part in that. “You know, I’m not sure. I feel like I need more time [laughs] to process it. But we have two kids [with actor Eva Mendes], so we spend a lot of our time trying to keep them entertained.”
Lockdown was especially tough, he says, as, “Our kids were at a difficult age not to be able to see other kids and interact with people, even though Eva and I did our best.” He suspected they ended up doing “more acting in quarantine than in our films. Tougher crowd, though.”
Gosling himself was home-schooled for a year, a turn of events that took him out of classes he hated and made him realise there were different ways to progress in life. “It really did turn things about for me,” he says now. “I had a great teacher, though. My mother was so good at it she became a teacher.” And so, when his young girls needed to be home-schooled, “She was the perfect person to ask for help when we needed it.”
They’re both too young to watch any of Gosling’s movies, save, perhaps, La La Land, but he’s not in a hurry for them to watch any just yet, which is probably for the best. Like the youthful Gosling himself, tooled up and ready for playground justice, his girls can have trouble telling fantasy from reality. When the eldest watched him fight Harrison Ford on the set of Blade Runner 2049, she shouted, “You’re winning!” to her father in the middle of the take. Ford stopped, turned and asked her, “What about me?” When he shot First Man his daughters would point to the moon and tell people that’s where their daddy worked.
Does he think they have a better understanding of what he does now? “Yeah. I think they finally figured it out… that my name is actually ‘The Gray Man’ and I’m an assassin for the CIA.”
Anyway, he says, he would likely not be the favourite parent in that regard. In the Gosling household, where talk of daredevil stunts elicits shrugs and where going to the moon is seen as the morning commute, the only superstar is their mother, as she starred in a 1999 film about a boy who turns into a farmyard animal, which was the standout film of lockdown.
“My Brother The Pig was a big hit,” says Gosling. “I highly recommend it, by the way. Eva’s amazing in it.” See: time really does fly when you’re having fun.