The film follows the CIA’s top asset — whose identity is known to no one — who uncovers agency secrets and triggers a global hunt by assassins set loose by his ex-colleague to stop him from revealing the truth. It’s the first film of its kind for rom-com legend Gosling, as well as Regé-Jean Page who is fresh off the success of Netflix’s biggest series ever.
Ahead of its debut in theaters and on Netflix, Shadow and Act spoke with Gosling, Page, Jessica Henwick, and the Russo Brothers on what to expect from summer’s biggest flick and why Gosling was the perfect lead.
‘The Gray Man’ is Gosling’s big foray into an action-packed film as the lead.
Beloved for his roles in romantic comedies and dramas, he says the new Netflix film provided him the opportunity to live out his childhood fantasies but he took his time before finding the perfect role. He became the leading man as a knight in shining armor in movies like The Notebook and La La Land but until now, a full-action movie he felt he could dig into hadn’t come up.
“I always wanted to make a big action movie. I just they were my first love and hat made me fall in love with movies,” he told us. “So I’ve always wanted to do one, but as you know, there’s a lot of good ones. And finding the right one took a while. But when I got this, I realized that this was it. It’s the Russos, who as much as I thought, I love action movies. They loved the more. Ane this character – I thought this character was really interesting and somebody I could have fun playing.
This is the first film presenting Page since his breakout role in ‘Bridgerton.’ Fans of the Regency-era piece were devastated to learn he would not reprise his role.
At the time of his exit, Page made it clear that he only signed on for one season and was excited to pursue other projects. He said The Gray Man was a no-brainer.
“It was incredible fun. It was this thing where the script turned up, and it was the most fun thing I had read so far,” he said. “It was this kind of thrill ride from beginning to end, but also always had its eye on making sure the audience enjoying itself, but also had so much ambition that I didn’t know how you pull it off until you remember that the Russos are directing it and they can pull off pretty much anything as a thriller just to kind of attach yourself and watch them do it from close quarters. It was an absolute no-brainer. It was just loads of fun to imagine making then loads of fun to make and then even more fun to watch.”
The Russo Brothers say that like Gosling’s character, like the actor, possess a certain je ne sais quoi. In terms of casting, they couldn’t think of anyone better to helm the film
Action films are expensive to make, so good investments are necessary. Having the film on a streaming giant like Netflix allows the film to reach a wider audience. When making an action film and factoring in the budget, the Russo Brothers explain that who you cast is the most important, as no one wants to lose money. Gosling shares striking similarities to his character’s personality in The Gray Man that the Russo brothers told us no other actor could’ve pulled off the role.
“The Gray Man in the movie is this character who likes to live in the gray, likes to be secretive, moves in the shadows,” Anthony said. “He doesn’t even really want to be doing what he’s doing as a spy. He only accepted an offer from the CIA because he was furloughed from prison. So this is a character who kind of wants to disappear and remain hidden. The movie is very much about an arc about how he has to come out of the shadows and reclaim his identity. But Ryan was so perfect for the role because he is a master of minimalism. He can convey an immense amount of interior life thoughts, emotions, charisma, vulnerability, strength, whatever it is. He can do that doing very little as an actor, and that is what was required of this character.”
Watch the full interview below: