While Ryan Gosling fans are excited about some of his recent projects, like the Netflix action thriller The Gray Man and the upcoming Barbie, Drive remains one of the actor’s most acclaimed movies. The intense crime thriller stars Gosling as a getaway driver who finds himself drawn into a dangerous plot.
The movie recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, having only gained more love from fans in the last decade. But even the movie’s biggest fans might not be aware of some of the exciting facts surrounding Drive and how this cult classic was made.
11 Gosling Was Given A Lot Of Creative Control
Following the success of movies like The Notebook and his Oscar-nominated role in Half Nelson, Gosling became an in-demand actor in Hollywood. When he was first approached about Drive as his next project, he was promised more creative say in the movie than on any previous project he had been involved with.
In an interview with Empire in its September 2011 issue, Gosling noted that Drive was the first time he had been able to handpick a director for his movie. He was very interested in finding a director who could elevate the material beyond just a genre movie.
10 Awkward First Meeting Between Gosling And Refn
The director that Gosling wanted was Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. When the two met at a restaurant, Gosling was unaware that Refn was sick with the flu and it ended up being a disaster as Gosling told Empire.
After Refn spent the entire time seemingly bored by the idea of making Drive, Gosling decided he made the wrong choice and offered to take Refn home. But Gosling recalls that as they were driving and listening to music, Refn started crying and told him, “This is the movie. It’s about a man who drives around, listening to pop music at night because it’s the only way he can feel.”
9 Refn Didn’t Have A Driver’s License When Making The Movie
Though his work on the movie was eventually praised by many critics, Refn initially seemed like a strange choice for the movie. Along with his previous movies showing no hint that he could tell a modern crime story, Refn lacked a particular skill that would seem necessary when making a great car movie.
In an interview with Collider about making Drive, Refn admitted that he failed his driver’s license exam eight times. Eventually, he took that as a sign that he was not meant to drive.
8 Gosling Restored An Old Car In Preparation
Given that Gosling would be doing a lot of his stunts as the getaway driver in the movie, he was required to undergo extensive stunt driving training for the movie. but even more interesting was the preparation he did in getting to know cars.
Gosling told Empire that he was asked to pick his own car for the movie. Despite not knowing much about cars, he found a ’73 Chevy Malibu in a junkyard. He then went to work restoring the entire car himself.
7 Carey Mulligan Was Almost Arrested For Speeding
Among the amazing supporting cast of the movie, Carey Mulligan is a standout as Irene, Driver’s neighbor who he falls for. But while Mulligan doesn’t get behind the wheel in the movie, she had her own wild speeding moment during filming.
In an interview with New York Mag, Mulligan said that she was driving Refn home after a late night of shooting. Unfortunately, Mulligan had also tried Red Bull for the first time that night and drank far too many of them leading to some erratic driving that nearly got her arrested when she was pulled over by the police.
6 Driver Saw Himself As An Action Hero
Driver offers another badass character for Gosling and has a certain coolness to him, but the filmmakers also saw him as a much odder character than the usual action movie protagonists. Gosling explained to Empire that Driver was influenced by action movies.
Gosling explained that he saw the character as someone who watched a lot of these action movies and grew up to be a stunt driver in other action movies, so he began to see himself as one of these heroes. This is partially where his toothpick came from as it seemed like something he would see in a movie and want to imitate.
4 Oscar Isaac Helped To Flesh Out His Character
Though Oscar Isaac has played heroic and villainous characters, his role as Standard in Drive was harder to define. However, a big part of how the character, an ex-con and family man, was made more complex was through Isaac’s own contributions.
When speaking to GQ, Isaac admitted he initially turned down the role because he felt it was not interesting enough. However, he and Refn then spent hours discussing the character and how he could be made a more sympathetic and layered character.
3 Albert Brooks Roughed Up The Director To Get The Part
One of the most unexpected aspects of Drive is Albert Brooks’ menacing performance as the gangster Bernie Rose. Brooks is an actor mostly known for his comedic roles, but he pushed for the part of Bernie and took some interesting approaches to convince Refn he was right for the part.
In an interview with Backstage, Brooks revealed that during his meeting with Refn, he sought to convince the filmmaker that he could play the scary villain by pining Refn to the wall. Though Brooks admitted that he questioned if it was a smart move, it seemed to work.
2 Nino Was A Dream Role For Ron Perlman
Another one of the villains in the movie is Nino, a low-level gangster and friend of Bernie whose ambition leads to much of the movie’s trouble. While Perlman was certainly a well-established and popular actor by the time this movie came along, he saw Nino as a dream role.
Refn remembers meeting with Perlman to discuss the part and being surprised by the actor’s enthusiasm for playing this secondary heavy. But Perlman found that Nino, a Jewish man who wanted nothing more than to be one of the Italians, was just like himself growing up.
1 Gosling Asked For Fewer Lines
One of the most intriguing aspects of Driver as a character is his quiet nature. He never speaks when behind the wheel of the car and remains silent in most social settings as well which adds to his somewhat awkward nature. But his limited dialogue was actually something Gosling requested.
Gosling explained to Empire that he had just finished making the drama Blue Valentine which was a very dialogue-heavy and emotionally raw movie. Needing a change of pace, Gosling asked to strip away some of his dialogue which he described as a relief.
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