Crazy, Stupid Love: Ryan Gosling in Comedy?

Ryan Gosling, one of the most gifted actors of his generation, makes a splash, and in a comedic part, in Crazy, Stupid Love.”

After 25 years of marriage, Cal Weaver’s wife, Emily, suddenly asks him for a divorce, revealing she’s had an affair. For suburban insurance man Cal, who hasn’t paid much attention to his wife—or his life—lately, the news proves to be shocking, setting him on a road to discover just where he might’ve left the man he used to be. The first stop on that path: drowning his sorrows in fruity cocktails sipped from tiny straws at a local bar, where he sticks out like the poor schlub he’s become.

“Up until that very moment, Cal is happy and content in his marriage, so he is totally blindsided by Emily’s declaration,” affirms Steve Carell. “It completely catches him off-guard, and he can’t really think. He needs to reevaluate his entire life, and figure out what he’s going to do. Is he just going to give up? Is he going to get back out there? I mean, this is a guy who’s been married for many, many years.”

Dashing Playboy
Cal gets help reinventing himself from an unexpected and, at first, unwelcome source, the very single, very self-assured Jacob Palmer, played by Ryan Gosling. Unbeknownst to Cal, the dashing local playboy has been watching him bore the bartender with his sob story night after night.

After a while, co-director Ficarra says, “Jacob refuses to continue to let Cal wallow in misery. But not because he feels sorry for him; mainly, he just doesn’t want to have to watch.”

“Our first order of business was casting Jacob, because the Cal-Jacob relationship is pivotal to the film,” Di Novi says. “We didn’t necessarily associate Ryan with comedy, but I think because the characters in this movie have so much depth and are so complicated and so rich, and because there are dramatic elements to the story as well, he thought he could really sink his teeth into it. And then, of course, we realized how funny he is.”

Carell recalls, “Ryan is so fantastic, and it struck me from day one how comedically gifted he is. And as funny as he could be, he also made a character that was cocky and arrogant so endearing.”

Sense of Timing

Returning the compliment, Gosling says, “One of the things I loved about working with Steve is that he acclimates himself to your sense of timing, which is a very generous way to work.”

Gosling’s Homework
To play Jacob, Gosling did his homework. “He’s really kind of a jackass,” he shares, “a knucklehead with a heart of gold who has this sort of twisted wisdom he thinks he should pass on. So I watched this TV show about a pick-up artist and read a couple of books about foolproof strategies for hitting on women. They are kind of terrifying, but I did manage to get some inspiration from them for Jacob.”

“We were awed by Ryan,” Requa says. “His insights into the character and the story were remarkable, and the interplay between him and Steve was just perfect.”

Ficarra concurs. “They had a definite chemistry and really enjoyed working together, so for us it was just a matter of capturing that.”