Last night’s TIFF red carpet of the highly anticipated musical La La Land was bananas. That’s the only way to describe it: Fans lined barricades along King St on both sides, media was four deep at the Princess of Wales theatre and there were even police with bomb sniffing dogs on the scene. And its no wonder everyone was making such a fuss: Some of the biggest stars on the planet were slated to arrive, like Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and John Legend.
You would think that an event so massive would be pandemonium, but it was executed with military precision: The carpet locked at exactly 5:15 when they said it would, and stars began arriving shortly after. (Usually, everything runs at least an hour late.) But the absolute highlight of the night came when Ryan Gosling showed up.
We heard him before we saw him—a great cheer arose from King Street, and suddenly, there he was, tall and handsome and clad in a fitted navy polka dot suit that I’m pretty sure no one else could pull off. Then, wonder of wonders, he actually stopped to talk to me. (And, fine, the five cameras jostling over my shoulder.)
“I’ve been making a film in Budapest that’s a sequel to Blade Runner,” he told us. “It’s a wonderful place, I’m having a great experience there. Wonderful food, amazing craftsmen, it’s a beautiful city, it’s just been terrific,” he said with a smile.
But guys, the craziest thing about The Goz is that he actually makes eye contact when he answers questions, unlike so many celebs. His baby blues lock on to yours, and you feel like he’s actually listening, instead of plotting his escape from the mania of the red carpet.
When asked about the challenges of making a musical, Gosling paused before he answered. “We had very good coaches and we had a lot of time to prepare,” he said. “I think the biggest trick to it was finding ways so that there were different people in there singing, to bring the other characters into it, so that it wasn’t jarring when suddenly everyone broke into song.”
Then, as a publicist started to steer him away, he said a very polite “Thank you” (so Canadian!) and he was gone. I think it’s safe to say I’m a Ryan Gosling fan for life now.