The Notebook director told Ryan Gosling he's not a natural leading man

The Notebook
(Image credit: New Line)

While Ryan Gosling may be one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men, the actor got his career started by bucking that label. According to the Barbie star, he was told early on by a few directors that he didn’t have leading man qualities – but they meant it as a good thing, apparently.

In a profile with GQ Magazine, the actor shared that he was cast in one of his first major roles in 2001’s The Believer because he was nothing like the character. Gosling played a Jewish kid from New York who becomes a neo-Nazi in the movie. "The fact that I wasn’t really right for it was exactly why [director Henry Bean] thought I was right for it," he said. 

The actor also explained something similar happened when he auditioned for the iconic romantic movie The Notebook. "[Director Nick Cassavetes] straight up told me: 'The fact that you have no natural leading man qualities is why I want you to be my leading man,'" Gosling recalled.

Gosling starred opposite Rachel McAdams in the 2004 drama based on Nicholas Sparks’ emotional novel of the same name. It was a big breakthrough moment for both stars after it performed well at the box office and has become a cult hit in the years since. 

He’ll next appear as Ken in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie this July – a role he’s described hilariously as channeling his "Ken-ergy" for. The movie, which sees Margot Robbie’s version of the iconic role head into the "real world" has already created multiple memes, spawned speculation about Easter eggs, and called back to classic movies. We can’t wait to see what else is in store…

For more upcoming movies, check out our guide to 2023 movie release dates.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.