Screen sends Regan Reid, our TIFF intern, into the red-carpet mayhem for the Toronto premiere of Drive. She gets a meaningful half-minute with Ryan Gosling.
I arrived at the red carpet for Drive about an hour before the stars were set to arrive. I came straight from working all day for Screen and I had forgotten to eat so I was also legitimately nervous about passing out when I saw Ryan Gosling. I stood in my assigned spot along the carpet, freezing cold but stupidly excited. Eventually the first star arrived: Albert Brooks. The throng of fans half-heartedly screamed at the sight of him. Reporters and photographers next to me asked, “Who’s that?” I felt prepared in comparison. Next to arrive was Bryan Cranston, the Breaking Bad/Malcolm in the Middle fans chanted his name. Next the Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, arrived and then finally, the main attraction, Ryan Gosling. You knew instantly when he stepped on the carpet because the tweens and cougars who had been waiting for hours collectively let out a never-ending, ear-splitting scream. I risked putting on my nerdy, unattractive glasses so I could quickly get a better look at him. Gorgeous. The man knows how to wear a suit.
One by one the celebrities made their way down the press line. I was second to last and worried no one would talk to me - or someone would talk to me and I’d ask a stupid question. Albert Brooks bypassed me. I snuck in a few, brief words with the director and then was finally given a proper interview by Bryan Cranston.
I asked him what the experience of seeing Drive for the first time was like. He told me: “They say that there are three films that are made: one that’s written, one that’s shot and one that’s edited. And I think I experienced the first two — one that was written and shot. I was involved in both of those, but Nicolas really found this film, the tone of this film, the sensibility of this film in the post-production process,” said Cranston. “It was a whole other experience. It was like ‘Whoa!’ and it was like a real rollercoaster experience.”
I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, too. Ten feet to my left, Ryan Gosling was answering a reporter’s questions about working with Refn, his experience at TIFF, etc. Gosling looked bored, but I was in awe. His publicist began tugging at his arm telling him they had to go. I grabbed her elbow and pleaded, “I just have one question.” Next thing I know, Ryan Gosling is standing right in front of me. Star struck, I shook his hand, smiled like an idiot, forgot to introduce myself or the publication and spewed out my question.
“Very important, how fast can you put together a Rubik’s cube? I hear you’re really into them,” I said [having been tipped off by Screen’s US editor Jeremy Kay, who talked Rubik’s with Gosling on the set of Drive.]
“Okay, well, what was it? Two minutes and like forty odd seconds,” he replied.
“And what’s the fastest humanly possible, do you know?” I asked.
“It’s like 15 seconds or something,” he said.
“So you have some practicing to do.”
“I got a lot of practicing to do.”
And then he was gone. According to my tape recorder, my whole encounter with him lasted twenty four seconds. If not for the tape, I wouldn’t remember any of it. But for my first red carpet experience, I don’t know what could have topped it.
Editor’s note: Screen works with TIFF’s Sid Adilman mentorship programme to recruit a rising Canadian journalist to assist with our Toronto coverage. This year’s excellent intern, Regan Reid, is a Masters of Journalism student at Ryerson University.