When I saw “Lost River” at its Un Certain Regard press screening at Cannes, I thought the actor did a fine job of creating a visually and aurally atmospheric gothic family drama, well-acted by Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) as a single mom and discovery Iain De Caestecker as her son in time-ravaged Detroit, which was not too far from where Gosling grew up in Ontario. Partially set in an underwater city, “Lost River”‘s cast includes Gosling’s almost co-star on “Lovely Bones,” Saoirse Ronan, his “The Place Beyond the Pines” costars Ben Mendelsohn and Eva Mendes (the mother of Gosling’s child), and “Dr. Who” star Matt Smith.
Originally titled “How to Catch a Monster,” the film finally opens almost a year later with an April 10 multi-platform release by Warner Bros.
WATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW: Ryan Gosling Talks “Werewolf” Role in Nic Winding Refn’s Cannes Hit ‘Drive’
Inside the Theatre Debussy, the movie met both jeers and applause. “Impressive impressionistic well-wrought debut for #RyanGosling,” I tweeted, but my Twitterfeed revealed dismissive reactions comparing the film’s hellish, dreamlike qualities to “ruin porn” and the work of David Lynch. One pundit called it a “film maudit crapocalypse.”
Was I being kind? I don’t think so. This was a worthy debut, enthusiastically supported by Guillermo del Toro at SXSW. (UPDATE: Now the “Mickey Mouse Club” discovery is in talks to return to Disney in Del Toro’s “Haunted Mansion.”) Clearly in the heated traffic-chasing world we live in, Gosling was too fat a target. He had been the fete of Cannes as the star of Nic Winding Refn’s “Drive.” But turn up as a would-be auteur? No go. He was pretentious at best, poseur at worst. “Any time you stick your neck out in high school there’s someone right there to chop your head off,” he told me.
We sat down and talked about what Gosling’s real inspirations were for the movie, his unusual location scout and casting methods, and how his own single mom informed his story. Check it out for yourself.