He’s also not all that concerned about what brutal, violent films like this do to his image. One reporter brought up the “Hey Girl era” and asked how “we’re going to keep making memes of you”; he shrugged and said, “You always seem to find a way.” He’s only recently grown interested in making violent films, he says, not out of an interest in violence per se, but because “the reaction is so strange, much stranger than anything I’ve done before.” The way that extreme violence gets a rise out of an audience is “the most bizarre reaction I could imagine… I feel like I’m learning about it, I don’t understand the reaction to it, but obviously there’s a real hunger for it, and I think Nicolas understands that.”
That said, he’s watched violent movies for a long while, which is what led to the story about how he used to keep VHS tapes in his pants. “Do you really want to know about this?” he asked with a laugh, and of course we did. “When I was little, I saw Rambo: First Blood Part II and I took knives to school and I threw them at the kids. So my mother took me off R-rated films. So I got my hands on Blue Velvet, and I had to sneak it in my house, I had to stick it in my pants to do it, and it was very… just the idea of a film like that, that you couldn’t show anyone, that you had to hide in your pants, just felt good, and it made an impression on me that I wanted to make something like that one day.”
“Was it erotic?” a reporter asked. Gosling closed his eyes, smiled, and let out a breathy, “Yes.” And the room broke up.
Pressed for his thoughts on the Lynch classic, he replied simply, “I did like that movie.” But another reporter noted that we could be witnessing the birth of a new meme — at which point Gosling clammed up. “You’re right, you’re right, I should stop talking.”
Only God Forgives is out Friday in limited release.