Fracture Ryan Gosling

New Line's psychological thriller “Fracture” is directed by Gregory Hoblit (“Primal Fear”) from a screenplay by Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers and it stars Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins, two of the best actors of their respective generations.

Tautly structured and directed, “Fracture” unfolds as a tense duel of intellect, strategy, and will power between Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), a man accused of murdering his adulterous wife, and Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), an ambitious assistant district attorney. In the long, grueling process, both men learn that a fracture can be found in every ostensibly perfect faade.

This year, Gosling was honored with an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in “Half Nelson.” (See Oscar Alert column). His performance as a drug-addicted inner city junior high school teacher also earned him a Best Male Lead Actor award a the Film Independents Spirit Awards, as well as Best Actor nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Awards, Chicago Film Critics, Online Film Critics Society, Toronto Film Critics and the Satellite Awards. He was awarded the Male Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review, and won Best Actor Awards from both the Seattle and Stockholm International Film Festivals.

Effects of Oscar Nomination

Gosling says: “Things have picket up a bit after the nomination, but the greatest thing about the Oscar was that it made so many people in my life very proud. I didn't know it was going to have such an effect, that everybody was going to get excited by it. My mother is still on a high.

Intriguing Characters

The characters jumped off the page into Hoblits consciousness, especially the scene in which Crawford and Willy first meet. Crawford has confessed to his wifes murder, and Willy, feeling all the power of his position as an assistant district attorney, questions Crawford believing his case to be a neat slam-dunk. When I read that scene, I couldnt wait to shoot it, Hoblit acknowledges. Everything else just radiated from the confrontation between them. Being able to shoot the creative dynamic of that sequence was probably the single most exciting day Ive had in 25 years in this business.

Casting Gosling

Hoblit first noticed Gosling when he saw “The Believer,” which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Whats perfectly clear right off the bat is that Ryan has an abundant talent, declares Hoblit. The kind of focus and intensity he has cant be taught you just have it or you dont. That, coupled with his off-beat good looks and natural charisma, made it a pretty easy call. The minute you lay eyes on the character of Willy, you know hes a smart guy, says Hoblit. Ryan embodies that. His intelligence is completely apparent and because hes such a facile actor and has so many gears, I find him compelling to watch. I honestly cant name another actor in his age range whos as engrossing. Shooting was endlessly interesting because nothing was ever the same from take to take because Ryan tries to find the truth in each moment. I knew hed be a beautiful foil for Anthony.

Reaction to Script

Gosling admits that an actors reaction to any script depends heavily on their frame of mind at the time they read it. I was living in a tent for two months, so when I talked to Greg Hoblit from my tent, it definitely sounded interesting, he laughs. But I honestly wasnt sure what I could bring to the table, he says on a more serious note. I just knew it was something I should do. I liked the suspense, I liked that I couldnt figure it out when I first read it, and I liked that Anthony Hopkins was playing Crawford.

Gosling on Character

Gosling sees his character in a simple light. Willy wiggles like a worm on Crawfords hook, he says. He basically tortures Willy, and Willy gets caught up in something totally out of his control. Theres no relationship between them from Willys perspective; its all created by Crawford.

But Willy cant lose this case because it will jeopardize both of his jobs, continues Gosling. Either the job he has or the one he wants to have. So losing is not really an option. And on a fundamental level, he doesnt want to see a murderer set free, especially someone whos enjoying outsmarting the law, and him, as much as Crawford seems to be.

Anthony Hopkins

Hopkins portrays Ted Crawford, an engineer and scientist who specializes in fracture mechanics, analyzing aeronautical malfunctions and plane crashes. He prides himself on being able to spot even the smallest defect or weakness in any system, mechanical or otherwise. Given that Hopkins only appears in six or seven scenes for a total of about 25 minutes of the film, the cumulative impact of those scenes is imperative, explains director Hoblit, emphasizing the actors impact. His delivery of those scenes is what makes the movie.

Acting Approach

The differences were not only apparent between the characters, but also between the actors and their approach to the material. The cast and director rehearsed for two weeks before start of production. Tony Hopkins is extremely precise and economical, notes Hoblit. Theres no wasted motion anywhere, while Ryans engine wants to warm up and get going in order to find itself. He goes from being good to being quite extraordinary when everything clicks.

Gosling on Hopkins

Says Gosling: “Its not every day you get to work with one of your heroes. Tony Hopkins is one of the greatest actors of all time, and for young guys like me, he's like a Jedi or something. When you work with him, you hope he shows you the way of the Force.”

Watching Hopkins on the Set

Gosling observes: Tony is just one of those people whos good at everything, a renaissance man who's prolific, he paints, he writes music, he directs and he does great imitations of cats and dogs. Hes a lot funnier than I thought hed be. He is fascinating to watch, and he never stops being creative. He'll be in a scene and then he'll go to his trailer and come back and he'll have paint all over his hands, because he's been painting in his trailer.

Gosling on David Strathairn

David Strathairn plays Gosling's boss, Lubruto. Willy and Lobruto have each other all wrong, says Gosling. Willy thinks Lobruto is a self-righteous public servant and Lobruto thinks Willy is a sellout, a punk. Their relationship is about figuring out how right or how wrong each is about the other.

Strathairn is another of Goslings acting heroes. I love Davids work, says Gosling. It was an honor to work with him. Hes very inclusive in terms of his process, which was great for someone like me. Hes a gardener in real life and that describes exactly how he works; he rolls up his sleeves and really gets his hands dirty.

Gosling on Detective Flores

Detective Flores and Willy are completely different personalities, explains Gosling. Theyre from different backgrounds with different life perspectives but they have to work together on this case. They kind of blame each other for the situation theyre in.

Shooting in Los Angeles

Its a bit of a forgotten city for the moment, says Gosling. Its rundown, but theres some amazing architecture and beautiful buildings that have been ignored since they were built at the turn of the century. But its beginning to be renovated and re-gentrified, so its an interesting time to be down there because its still a bit of a ghost town and it will never be like this again.

“Fracture” is the first picture to utilize the main stage and auditorium of the Frank Gehry-designed performing arts center, where the company filmed mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux and her accompanist, Paul Floyd. They also shot several pieces of the sequence where Willy and Nikki first meet in the foyer area.

Gosling was particularly thrilled to shoot at Disney Hall, because, try as he might to find tickets to the any of the sold-out performances since the halls opening, he came up empty-handed. I was so irritated because I could never get tickets, he says in mock despair, but not only did I get in this time, I got to walk on stage, explore backstage, sit in the best seats, see the view from the roof, he laughs. I got a really unique tour, so I feel pretty lucky.

Synopsis of Fracture

When Ted Crawford (Hopkins) discovers that his beautiful younger wife, Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz), is having an affair, he plans the perfect murder. Although Jennifer was shot at point blank range, Nunally realizes she isnt dead. Crawford is immediately arrested and arraigned after confessing, a seemingly slam-dunk case for hot shot assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Gosling), who has one foot out the door of the District Attorneys office on his way to a lucrative job in high-stakes corporate law. But nothing is as simple as it seems. Will the lure of power and a love affair with a sexy, ambitious attorney (Rosamund Pike) at his new firm overpower Willys fierce drive to win, or worse, quash his code of ethics