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Ryan Gosling on Working With ‘Hero’ Russell Crowe in ‘The Nice Guys’

Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer and Keith David were all smiles at the Los Angeles premiere of their new buddy comedy “The Nice Guys.” Co-written by Shane Black (who also directed), who penned ultimate ’80s buddy action movie “Lethal Weapon,” and Anthony Bagarozzi, this film centers on Jackson Healy (Crowe) and Holland March (Gosling) as an unlikely crime-solving duo.

“I’m such a big Shane Black fan and working with Russ — he’s a hero of mine. I always hoped we would work together,” Gosling said. “I never thought it would be in a movie with a giant, smoking bee. I thought it would have been something more dramatic, but it was fun to get to work on something like this.”

Crowe also complimented his “cineaste” co-star.

“This kid is a genius and he’s a cineaste, I appreciate his preparedness to be adventurous, how many questions he asks and how hard he works,” Crowe said of Gosling.

Crowe said Black wasn’t concerned with killing his darlings.

“He’s very trusting and open as a director. He’s not precious about what’s on the page,” Crowe said. “He knows that Ryan and I will hold true to the spirit of what the scene intended.”

According to Bagarozzi, the film’s title is supposed to con the audience.

“You know they’re two not-very-nice guys. One breaks arms for a living and the other cons old ladies out of money. It was literally the two worst people that we could think of and then trying to make that fun,” Bagarozzi said.

Originally meant to be a show, it was too edgy for network TV, according to Bagarozzi. Bagarozzi said writing with Black was the most appealing aspect of joining “The Nice Guys,” no matter where it ended up.

“We each took a character and started writing and then we switched back and forth until we had a plot. I started with Jackson Healy, but it got to the point where we don’t know who wrote what. It took so long to get to screen and it’s been a labor or love,” Bagarozzi said.

Black has been collaborating with producer Joel Silver, who he describes as the “touchstone” that he keeps going back to, for 30 years.

“He does this kind of ‘tough guy’ picture better than anyone else,” Black said. “Sometimes I take a break from Joel, but after ‘Iron Man 3’ was a hit, I wanted to go back to Joel Silver, and we got it made with our first two picks!”

He is, of course, talking about Gosling and Crowe.

Silver likened “The Nice Guys” to Abbott and Costello pics and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

“It’s a wild ride. It’s an exceptional experience,” Silver said. “It’s different because it’s a serious movie, but it’s also a comedy. You have all sorts of comedy idioms and it’s special and it’s unique.”

David, who plays an “older guy who’s a ‘handler,'” said it was great to reunite with Crowe after working together on 1995’s “The Quick and the Dead.” Like much of the cast, David had nothing but praise for writer-director Black.

“It was a joy. It’s great to work with a director who knows what they want and are really clear with their vision,” David said.

After the stars hit the red carpet and the screening at the TCL Chinese Theatre, they headed across the street to the Roosevelt Hotel for a ’70s-themed after-party. Spotted at the pool: two mermaids. Spotted at the bar: ’70s-themed drinks. Overheard at the party: ’70s music. Safe to say, the after-party was like stepping back in time on a shag carpet, of which there were plenty.

“The Nice Guys” opens in theaters on May 20.

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