Just as Lars and the Real Girl gathers a bit of heat (all things being relative) from its national expansion comes word that star-to-be Ryan Gosling has dropped out of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, per Variety, one day before shooting was to commence. The film, of course, is based on Alice Sebold’s award-winning novel about a grieving
couple (Rachel Weisz is the other half of the equation) whose world is
shattered after their daughter is murdered. Subsequently, the girl
watches over both her family and her killer from heaven. Mark Wahlberg will replace Gosling.
The age-old adage “creative differences” is naturally being deployed, but in this instance it’s something that I can actually fathom, even if the timing is suspect and problematic, from a damage standpoint. Genial/sensitive exteriors aside, Jackson and Gosling are both strong-willed, stick-to-their-guns creative types, and the 26-year-old Gosling especially has been resistant to the star-making Hollywood apparatus — think of him as an early-era Johnny Depp in this regard, minus the rock band, drug dabbling and Winona Ryder. After gaining 20 pounds and a beard for the role — all in an effort to age himself — one has to guess this was the major sticking point of a few other character bits that Gosling and Jackson just couldn’t see eye to eye on. I can’t imagine it was extremely protracted and marked by screaming matches or anything quite as delicious.
For all his prodigious talent, Gosling has always struck me as having an inherent air of melancholy. He was notably miserable on Murder by Numbers, and had to be basically talked into doing his two other most overtly commercial films, The Notebook and Fracture. Hollywood can’t afford to give up on this guy, but at the same time Gosling just gave reason to give them pause when it comes to casting him in high-profile productions.