“You can just take a nap through the interview if you want. I won’t judge you,” Ryan Gosling deadpans.
It’s 8:30 on a Friday night after a long week when the actor calls from Los Angeles. We're supposed to talk “The Nice Guys,” a comedic thriller by Shane Black: the architect of the action comedy, who wrote “Lethal Weapon,” “The Last Boy Scout” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” It’s a chance for Gosling, a serious actor with a strange sense of humor, to cut loose, even do slapstick.
Quickly his goofy side is activated. “Just turn on your recorder and I’ll do a version of 'End of the Road' by Boyz II Men, all four parts at the same time.” And so begins our chat.
Can you talk about your history with Shane Black, who wrote a lot of seminal action movies?
I grew up on his movies, dating back to “Monster Squad.” Him and [producer] Joel Silver are in my cinematic DNA. When I read this it felt familiar yet totally new at the same time. It was like coming home.
You also get to do a lot of physical comedy here. You’ve done it before but most of your back catalog is comprised of serious dramas.
I dabbled in it in kids television. I did a show called “Breaker High” where they could have cared less what we did. So we tried to squeeze in a lot of physical comedy. I grew up on that stuff. Slapstick and broad comedies have always been some of my favorite films. But it just didn’t seem like [comedies] were in the cards for me. When this came up, I read it as a huge opportunity for physical comedy.