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How To Be More Mr Ryan Gosling

A comprehensive guide to channelling La La Land’s leading man

  • Mr Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love, 2011. Photograph by LFI/Photoshot

He’s the ultimate Hollywood hero – all-singing, all-dancing, and he looks just as great in a bomber jacket as black tie. He can do sweet (The Notebook), he can do suave (Crazy, Stupid, Love), he can do tough (Drive). Women want him. Men want him, or want to be him, or both.

As well as a heartthrob, he’s a meme magnet. And from all the reports/chat shows, he seems like a thoroughly decent human. (Either that or he’s an even better actor than we thought.) So how does Mr Ryan Gosling do what he does without being really, really annoying? And how can we mere mortals channel whatever it is that he’s got? MR PORTER investigates.

  • Mr Ryan Gosling in Drive, 2011. Photograph by WENN

Imagine there’s a fight kicking off in the street. Two guys are going at it, grappling, throwing haymakers. What do you do? You stand at a safe distance and film it on your phone like everyone else, of course. Not Mr Gosling. Just as much a hero off screen as he is on it, when he happened across some fisticuffs in Manhattan while on his way back from the gym a couple of years ago, he weighed in and broke it up. We know this because one of the people filming on her iPhone put it on YouTube. As soon as the brawlers realised who was playing peacemaker, they backed down. Why? Presumably because once you’ve seen the elevator scene in Drive, in which Mr Gosling repeatedly stamps on a man’s head until his skull cracks and caves in, you can’t un-see it. But in real life, Mr Gosling is a lover not a fighter. In other heroic news, he also saves people from getting run over by yellow cabs. The streets of New York are safer when Mr Gosling is walking them.

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  • Mr Ryan Gosling and his mother, LA, 2013. Photograph by REX Shutterstock

After his parents divorced, Mr Gosling and his sister lived with their mother, which, he says, programmed him to be able to relate to the opposite sex. He’s comfortable with older women; for a while he was with Ms Sandra Bullock, 16 years his senior, and his wife Ms Eva Mendes, mother of his two girls, is seven years older than him. He is admirably protective of his family life, and is seldom pictured in public with Ms Mendes – whom he rarely mentions by name. The couple managed to keep both Ms Mendes’ pregnancies a secret, almost until their daughters, Esmerelda and Amada, were born. Although Mr Justin Timberlake’s mother became his legal guardian for a while when, as a tween, Mr Gosling moved from Canada to Florida to become a member of Disney’s The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (alongside Mr Timberlake and Mses Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears), he dotes on his own mother and often takes her to events as his plus one.

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  • Mr Ryan Gosling, Cannes, 2011. Photograph by Ms Dominique Charriau/Getty Images

Mr Gosling has learned from past mistakes, such as the time he turned up to the premiere of Half Nelson in a tuxedo T-shirt (he’s human!). These days, his style choices are as unpredictable, but as well-judged as his movie choices. Now when he wears a tux, he knows to keep it classic. In the heat of the Cannes Film Festival a few years back, he rocked a pyjama shirt and white slacks. In a tailored suit, he hits the mark every time with daring shades of bottle green, burgundy, brown, cream and blues of varying hues. Velvet, tweed, pattern: bring it on. Tie or buttoned-up-shirt-no-tie, Mr Gosling does as he damn well pleases. He is a sartorial maverick who gets results despite his unorthodox methods. But one thing stays consistent: he’s always well-groomed, because as we all know, cleanliness is next to Goslingness.

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  • Ms Michelle Williams and Mr Ryan Gosling, Utah, 2010. Photograph by Mr Carlo Allegri/Press Association Images

Mr Gosling puts the guy in zeitgeist. And what helps him stay there is his perfectly judged acknowledgment of, and response to, all the attention he gets from fans. He’s in on the joke. A couple of years ago, two defining pop culture trends were fused together in the viral equivalent of a “cronut”: grown-up colouring-in books + pictures of Mr Gosling = Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling. The man also provides endless source material for internet-diffused parody. First came the Tumblrs (remember them?), such as Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling (pictures of our hero with amusing “Hey Girl” captions) and Feminist Ryan Gosling (similar, but this time with feminist “Hey Girl” captions), and a plethora of other spin-offs. They were superceded by memes such as the excellent “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal”: a Vine series in which the star appears to repeatedly refuse to eat a proffered spoonful of breakfast cereal. When the creator of that series sadly passed away, Mr Gosling filmed a Vine of himself finally eating his cereal by way of tribute. He truly is the gif that keeps on giving.

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  • Mr Ryan Gosling in La La Land, 2017. Photograph by Mr Dale Robinette

It takes a lot of graft to make things look this effortless. The guy playing piano in La La Land? Yep, that’s really him – he doesn’t have a “jazz hands” double. He learned the pieces in three months, practising two hours a day, six days a week. “In what other job is it a part of your job to just sit behind a piano for three months and play?” he has said. “It was really one of the most fulfilling pre-production periods I’ve ever had.” Presumably it’s not too hard to find the motivation to tinkle the ivories or learn to tap dance when your reward is several million dollars and a tilt at Oscar glory. But when Mr Gosling finds a project he’s passionate about, he rolls up his sleeves. Consider this: in 2004, he opened Tagine, a Moroccan restaurant in Beverly Hills. Far from just putting his name to the place and his hand in the till, he “spent all his money” buying the restaurant on impulse and then took a year doing a lot of the renovation work himself. According to his Wikipedia page, he still oversees the menus.

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  • Mr Ryan Gosling at the Golden Globe Awards, LA, January 2017. Photograph courtesy of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association

The idea for this article came while watching Mr Gosling accept his Golden Globe award last month. He wafted to the stage like human chloroform, members of the audience and inanimate objects swooning theatrically in his wake. All puppy dog eyes and self-deprecation, he delivered a perfectly pitched thank you to his “lady” and “sweetheart” Ms Mendes for allowing him to do what he does – ie, slay, then pick up awards for slaying – while she was at home raising their first daughter, pregnant with their second and caring for her terminally ill brother. The audience applauded, as did the watching millions. Mr Gosling wins at winning. Which is just as well, seeing as he might be called to the podium for the big one before the month is out.

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Hey girl: Mr Ryan Gosling is not associated with and does not endorse MR PORTER or the products shown