Ryan Gosling on Using Dreams in Acting and How He Regards Bad Reviews

Ryan Gosling Directing 'Lost River'

That’s a style of acting that’s pretty popular right now, where actors use their dreams to connect whatever material they’re working on.” – Ryan Gosling


Nearly a year after it debuted, actor Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut Lost River finally had a limited release this month. Though Gosling doesn’t appear in the film, he used his acting experience to help him direct the actors in the movie. In an interview with Vice, Gosling spoke about how he asked his actors to use their dreams to influence their acting style and what he thought about the poor reviews for Lost River.

Gosling asked his actors to write down the dreams they have each night and to share them on set the following morning. He describes the purpose of that as, “That’s a style of acting that’s pretty popular right now, where actors use their dreams to connect whatever material they’re working on. I wasn’t sure about it—you know, you chum the waters and see what you can get. But it just played into the overall themes and narrative of the movie, which was about a woman whose dream was turning into a nightmare, and I thought that the film should have that same quality. I thought we could explore that privately and then in a literal way. I know that sounds kooky, but it’s like a symbol to represent a lot of things, and it gives you a shorthand. We tried it, and it came in handy a few times. I’ve also never said the word kooky before, so that’s a first.

While Gosling earned rave reviews for several films in his career — most notably 2011’s Drive — he’s also received his fair share of knocks at his talent. Lost River in particular received a generally negative reception when it debuted at Cannes 2014. Gosling likens negative reactions in Hollywood to getting picked on in high school. He explains, “Well… high school kind of prepares you for all this shit. It’s not that different, really. In high school every time you stuck your neck out there was always a bunch of people there ready to chop your head off. Hollywood’s not different. It’s just their opinion of the film, and my opinion of their reviews is ‘two thumbs down.'”

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