The signature image of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land — the one that adorns all of its posters and trailers, and this post as well — is of its two stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, dancing in the hills of Los Angeles. It’s a striking visual: Gosling in his dark wool (not polyester) suit, Stone in her canary yellow dress, each with one arm pointed skyward behind them and the other crossed and pointing to the ground. In this single pose, they’ve essentially diagrammed their characters’ entire journeys over the course of the film: They come from different worlds, meet, and send each others’ lives careening off in new directions, with the city of Los Angeles serving as the glittering backdrop to their romance.
If you’re a Ryan Gosling fan, you know that he catapulted to stardom in The Notebook. But did you know the director of the film, Nick Cassavetes, cast Gosling because he thought he was “the exact opposite” of his character? “You’re not handsome, you’re not cool,” Cassevetes told Gosling (according to Gosling). “You’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.” Gosling wasn’t offended and took the part, and the rest is history. That’s just one of the cool facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
While traditional live sketches are still the backbone of any given episode, modern SNL is frequently at its best in the pre-recorded segments. The past few years have seen an interesting evolution as the silly “digital shorts” of a decade ago have matured into full-blown filmmaking, with sketches that feel more like short films than just a comedy bit. Last night’s Ryan Gosling-hosted episode peaked with a pre-recorded sketch titled “Santa Baby,” which let both SNL and Gosling himself turn the weird up to 11.
One small step for man, one giant step for mankind — we could be talking about the first moon walk, or we could be talking about Ryan Gosling. Or maybe both, as Universal is eyeing the actor to star in their upcoming Neil Armstrong biopic from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle and Spotlight scribe Josh Singer.