After successfully saving jazz a couple of years ago, director Damien Chazelle teams up with leading actor Ryan Gosling once again for space drama First Man. Based on James R. Hansen’s biography of the same name, the plot follows the lives of NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong (Gosling) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) during the 1960s Space Race. When Neil is selected to command the now legendary Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, he seizes the opportunity to make history.
Some directors can attract A-listers thanks to their previous collaborations, their industry reputation or by the way in which they make films. The acclaimed yet divisive Terrence Malick falls into this category and has pulled together Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman to make up possibly the most star-studded cast in recent memory. His latest feature is romantic drama Song to Song, which unfolds against the backdrop of the music scene in Austin, Texas. At the centre of it all is Faye (Mara), a rising musician who embarks on a relationship with fellow performer BV (Gosling) but who is also seeing his manipulative producer Cook (Fassbender); hence a complicated love triangle ensues.
Writer and director Damien Chazelle sweeps us up in classic Hollywood homage with his latest feature La La Land, a musical romance set in modern-day Los Angeles. The story follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) who is at the end of her tether after a run of bad auditions. At a particular low point, she spots Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a down-trodden jazz pianist who performs at a restaurant where nobody cares about him or the music he plays. They are contemporary starving artists pursuing old-fashioned dreams, and when fate strikes they bond over their shared passion and ambitions to get a break in the ‘city of stars’. Seb shrugs off his failure to succeed, saying ‘I’m letting life hit me until it gets tired’, but can the pair hit back at life or are they destined for never-ending rejection?
Shane Black is no stranger to the crime buddy movie genre, having penned the screenplays for the Lethal Weapon films through the late eighties and early nineties. Now, as a director and co-writer alongside Anthony Bagarozzi, he returns to the field for neo-noir comedy ‘The Nice Guys’ starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. When hard-man enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) is hired to rough up private eye Holland March (Gosling), to say they get off on the wrong foot would be an understatement. However, circumstances around the mysterious death of porn star Misty Mountains force them to form an unlikely alliance. Together the mismatched pair aim to track down a missing girl linked with the investigation, leading to an action-packed and hilarious wild-goose-chase through the underbelly of 1970s Los Angeles.
From his breakthrough appearance in Nicholas Sparks’ weepie The Notebook to his brutal turn in ultra-violent thriller Only God Forgives, Ryan Gosling has an eclectic back-catalogue that divides audiences and keeps us guessing what he’ll do next. After his foray into directorial work on Lost River, he has turned to comedy in Oscar nominated financial satire The Big Short and detective buddy movie The Nice Guys which hits UK cinemas this month. In the run-up to its release, we count down his five best performances to date.