Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River hasn’t exactly drawn widespread critical praise. It was mostly dismissed by critics at its Cannes premiere, and upon its limited theatrical release, The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd said the film is a mere collage of Gosling’s influences with little to say to viewers. But maybe the recognition of one more influence will clarify Gosling’s artistic vision: Speaking with The World’s End director Edgar Wright at a recent screening of the film, Gosling said Lost River is ultimately a “dark Goonies.”
The Oscar-nominated actor and internet-nominated handsomest man told Wright that when he first gave the script to Johnny Jewel, the film’s composer, Gosling received a message back that said, “Dark Goonies. Cool.” Gosling noted, “And I didn’t realize it, but it’s true.” While there are similarities in the premises of both films—namely, young people investigating the truth behind a spooky regional legend—it surely would have helped clarify matters if Gosling had included a dark version of the Truffle Shuffle.
While discussing other matters of moviemaking, Gosling told Wright that his biggest surprise while directing the film was the production timeline: “I didn’t know it was going to take three years. You don’t know how to make a movie until you make one. As many as I’ve made as an actor, it doesn’t prepare you at all.” Gosling also admitted that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to make the film for $5 million. But then Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn scolded him into action, saying, “You can make Star Wars for $5 million.” Referring to Refn’s claim, Wright chimed in, “That’s bullshit, by the way.”
Gosling also said that he showed the Lost River script to Guillermo del Toro, who told the burgeoning filmmaker, “If you don’t direct it, I will.” What del Toro probably actually said was, “If you don’t direct it, I’ll add it to my list of a thousand other projects that I might develop one day,” but it’s difficult to understand his accent sometimes, so Gosling just inferred.
Anyway, Refn and del Toro weighed in on Lost River during development, and Wright thinks enough of the finished product to spend an afternoon interviewing Gosling about it, so maybe that’s enough to warrant a viewing. Lost River is playing in select cinemas in New York and Los Angeles and is available via Video on Demand.