Production delay helped Gosling

For 'Blue Valentine,' actor was able to ingest character

Ryan Gosling signed on to make “Blue Valentine” in 2005, but, owing to death and debts, bankruptcies and other calamities, director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance couldn’t get the film off the ground for four years.

Gosling recalls he never stopped thinking about the movie during its time in limbo. He, Cianfrance and co-star Michelle Williams continued to develop and hone the film’s central characters, a process that allowed them to fully create the haunting portrait of a marriage that wowed auds at Sundance earlier this year.

“It felt like you could grow something,” Gosling says. “You had the time. When you only have two months to prepare for a role, you’re just constantly chasing it with a searchlight and screaming at it through a megaphone, telling it to come out. With this, you could let it sit and check back to see how it was coming along.”

Gosling and Williams play a couple who may have married too young and now, six years and a daughter later, are grappling with the fissures in their union. The movie jumps back and forth in time, showing the couple’s initial meeting and carefree courtship and following through to the pressures of the present-day.

Shooting the movie in sequence helped the actors, Gosling says. But even more important was the month break that Cianfrance insisted upon before shooting the later scenes of discord. During that time, Gosling and Williams lived on location in Scranton, Pa., inhabiting the lives of their married couple.

“We were given a budget and had to go grocery shopping and wrap Christmas presents and bake birthday cakes,” Gosling says. “There were days where we were supposed to fight all day. We’d do that, then suddenly Derek would bring Faith (Wladyka), the little girl playing our daughter, and he’d say, ‘Take her to the family fun park and act like you haven’t been fighting.'”

That luxury of time and accumulation of detail worked its way into the film, Gosling says.

“There’s a million examples and most of them never made the film, but I think they’re there in its authenticity.”

More from Eye on the Oscars: The Actor
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Supporting actors in the mix

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