NEW YORK — To help “Half Nelson’s” Ryan Gosling prepare for the role of a teacher, director Ryan Fleck sent him into a public school in Brooklyn — for a little while, anyway. “The girls kept trying to hand him copies of (Gosling’s pic) ‘The Notebook,’ so that ended pretty quickly,” Fleck joked on March 22 during Gotham’s New Directors/New Films fest.
“Half Nelson,” a “Dangerous Minds”-type film where the teacher is also in need of reform, stars Anthony Mackie and debut teen actor Shareeka Epps. “It’s about a guy who’s frustrated and wants to change the world but can’t seem to get his own life together,” Fleck says of Gosling’s lead character. ThinkFilm bought “Half Nelson” at Sundance this year.
Film and after-party kicked off the 35th annual fest, run by Gotham’s Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.