Ryan Gosling has signed on to star in The Actor. Based on Donald E. Westlake‘s hard-boiled novel, Memory, Duke Johnson will direct from a script he wrote alongside Stephen Cooney.
Gosling will play actor Paul Cole, who is beaten and left for dead in 1950s Ohio. Stripped of his memory and stranded in a mysterious small town, Paul struggles to get back home, piece his memories together, and reclaim the life and identity he’s lost.
Gosling often likes taking on these “lonely man” roles. Think First Man, Drive, Only God Forgives. For those who have been wanting to see Gosling get back to the sort of work he did with Nicolas Winding Refn, this may be exactly what they’ve been looking for. By all accounts this could be another stylish neo-noir; it’s almost surprising Refn isn’t involved.
Gosling will also produce the film with Waypoint Entertainment’s Ken Kao, Johnson and his Innerlight Films partner Abigail Spencer, and Paul Young through his Make Good Banner.
Gosling hasn’t appeared in a film since 2018’s First Man, but he is prepping some big projects. Along with The Actor, he’s also set to star in Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo‘s The Gray Man, a big global action drama that also stars Chris Evans. That’s in the works at Netflix and is thought to have an excellent chance at starting a big franchise.
But that’s not it. Gosling is also collaborating with Kao on the adaptation of the Andy Weir novel, Project Hail Mary, which Phil Lord and Chris Miller are directing. And he’s also attached to star in Leigh Whannell‘s Wolfman at Universal.
So after a bit of a break, Gosling looks to be coming back with a bang. The Actor sounds like it will probably be the smaller of these films, but Gosling has always excelled in those kinds of movies anyway. No word on when production is slated to begin, but Gosling may have to squeeze it into what looks to be an increasingly busy schedule.