At the Cannes Film Festival this week, Ryan Gosling's new film "Only God Forgives" inspired a divisive reaction among critics. Some audience members even booed the violent movie, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
But Gosling, who is busy filming his directorial debut "How to Catch a Monster" thousands of miles away in Detroit, doesn't seem to be losing any sleep over the negative response.
"He never would have gone to Cannes and left this set -- this is his baby," said Saoirse Ronan, who has a role in Gosling's film, which stars Christina Hendricks as a single mother whose teenage son stumbles across an eerie underwater town.
Ronan spoke via phone from Michigan on Wednesday morning, where she was taking a few hours off from the set to promote her upcoming crime drama "Violet & Daisy."
"It's different working with an actor as a director," the 19-year-old said of Gosling. "So much of his approach is character-based, and he has a lot of respect for how we feel about them."
During a week's worth of rehearsals, Ronan said she realized quickly that Gosling would be open to making accommodations for his actors if they felt uncomfortable on set. "If there's something we don't feel like doing," she said, "like, if my character doesn't feel like she would get in a car, and I tell him that, he'll rewrite the scene later. He's just so relaxed and very, very creative."
Ronan wouldn't reveal much about her role in "How to Catch a Monster." In "Violet & Daisy," though, she and Alexis Bledel are teenage assassins who take a hit job in an effort to pay for dresses designed by their favorite pop idol. Their carefree attitude toward violence echoes that of the young female crew in March’s “Spring Breakers,” where teens similarly fire guns in an strangely calm fashion.
“There is a lot of that out there right now -- the whole materialism thing and fascination with celebrity status,” Ronan mused, alluding to both Harmony Korine’s film and Sofia Coppola’s upcoming “The Bling Ring,” in which teens rob celebrities' homes in the hopes of stealing their clothes and jewelry.
Ronan, Oscar-nominated for her turn in 2007's "Atonement," says she has tried to stay away from such trappings of Hollywood.
“I think a lot of it has to do with how you’re brought up -- the books you read and what you’re being fed,” said Ronan, who was born in the U.S. but grew up in Ireland. “But I’ve never been that into that stuff -- fashion, even. The thing that I like about fashion is the art of it.”
Indeed, Ronan insisted she hasn’t even been star-struck by Gosling -- the object of many women’s “Fifty Shades of Grey”-esque fantasies.
“Oh, to be honest, I have never thought of Ryan that way,” she said with a giggle. “I mean, I met him when I was 14.”
"Violet & Daisy," which was met with tepid response when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, will debut at Mann's Chinese 6 in Hollywood on June 7.
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