Ides of March: Ryan Gosling

Casting the film turned out to be relatively easy. “George and Grant have these relationships – people just want to work with them,” says Brian Oliver. “We never would get a cast like we have without having George Clooney as the director.  As a producer, it’s kind of a dream job when George Clooney is directing.  George and Grant decide which actors they want in the roles, and then they go get them all. There was no one who they thought they could get to do it that didn’t do it.”

“All the reactions from all the actors meant something to us,” says Clooney. “It meant that they all believed in the screenplay. This was our baby that we’d been working on – the quality of the cast alone put a great deal of responsibility on Grant and me to make sure we made a good film.”

Ryan Gosling was cast as Stephen Meyers, press secretary for Governor Morris. Gosling, an Academy nominee for his performance in Half Nelson, says he was attracted to the role not only by the strong character arc and story, but by the chance to work with George Clooney. “Our characters are all here because we believe in Morris, and we believe in his campaign,” he says.  “I think that all of us as actors are here because we believe in George, and we believe in his campaign, which is this film.”

Clooney fully understood the responsibility on Gosling’s shoulders in undertaking this demanding role, which is vital to the success of the film.  “The movie is about Ryan Gosling’s character. He starts the movie, he ends the movie, he’s in every scene,” says Clooney. “At the beginning, he’s smart, the best at what he does, on top of the game, the one everybody wants. By the end of the film, the rug gets pulled out, and he’s even better at his job than he was before – and all it costs him is his soul.

“It’s an acting challenge,” he continues. “Ryan is a really wonderful actor and he’s perfect for the part.”

Gosling explains that he was attracted to this “political film that’s not political in its message. You don’t really have to know or understand much about politics in order to follow the characters and be invested in the story. But it does offer a window into the sort of behind the scenes that you never really get to see.” 

Gosling admits that Stephen has played some dirty pool in his past, but working for Morris is a whole new ball game. “He has stars in his eyes for Governor Morris, because Morris is a sort of purist in the political world,” says the actor. “As a candidate, he’s not really interested in playing dirty politics, and he doesn’t try and slander the name of his opponent.”

Gosling believes Stephen’s motives – if not his means – are pure as well. “My character really wants to effect change in the country and in the world, and he believes that his candidate can do that,” he explains. “But if his candidate isn’t going to win then he’s not going to be able to be effective.” 

By the end of the film, “Stephen makes internal compromises that sort of create an environment internally that his soul can’t exist in,” says Gosling. “He’s not really recognizable by the end of the film.”