The 32-year-old Canadian heart-throb wasn’t able to attend today’s screening of the hotly anticipated Nicolas Winding Refn film. Gosling is the star of this noir film set in Bangkok about a boxing club owner who is being pushed by his mother into avenging his brother’s death.
During this morning’s press conference at the festival, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux read a letter from the missing star that not only explained his absence but apologised as well.
Gosling is in Detroit, Michigan making his directorial debut with the film How to Catch a Monster. In the statement read by Fremaux (in French) he said that Gosling had written, “I can’t believe that I’m not in Cannes with you. I was hoping to be coming but I am in the third week of shooting my movie. I miss you all.
Ryan alos included some encouraging words for his director of the film adding, “Nicolas, my friend, we really are the same, simply in different worlds and I am sending you good vibrations. I am with you all.”
His absence is huge a blow to the festival. Cannes has always relied on the presence of top drawing stars to attend the red carpet event. The appearance of stars like Gosling ensures that the world’s media will cover the event and direct more attention to the festival.
After reading Gosling’s letter of apology, Thierry said that he himself was sad that Gosling wasn’t there. He said, “He is not with us physically, but as he stated, his thoughts are with us,” said Fremaux.
Only God Forgives is Ryan Gosling’s second collaborative effort with Refn after their 2011 feature Drive.
Unlike Drive, which received almost unanimous praise from critics upon its release, Only God Forgives has gotten mixed reviews with many critics not caring for the extreme violence and the films nightmarish quality.
In the film, Gosling plays Julian, The owner/operator of a Thai boxing club that is actually a front organization for his family’s drug smuggling operation. His mother Jenna, played by Kristen Scott Thomas, forces Julian to search out his brother’s killer and avenge his death.
About the film Danish Director Refn has said, “[f]rom the beginning, [he] had the idea of a thriller produced as a western, all in the Far East, and with a modern cowboy hero.” He originally planned to direct Only God Forgives directly after Valhalla Rising (2009), but he accepted Gosling’s request to direct Drive instead.
Gosling has described the script of Only God Forgives as “the strangest thing I’ve ever read and it’s only going to get stranger.” Like Drive, Only God Forgives was largely shot chronologically and scenes were often edited the day they were shot.
Ryan entered into negotiations to star in the film in June 2011 after the original lead, Luke Evans dropped out because of scheduling conflicts with his role in the film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Gosling then underwent Muay Thai kickboxing training in preparation for the role 2–3 hours daily until they started filming. Refn also participated in the training.
Reviews of the film’s screening are still coming out and the critics continue to have divided opinions about the film.
By Michael Smith