Are Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn the next De Niro and Scorsese?


Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

From John Ford and John Wayne, to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, to Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, there have been many great actor-director teams. Very quietly, a new one could be budding right before our eyes.

EW has confirmed that Ryan Gosling is negotiating to star in Only God Forgives, a crime thriller set in Bangkok and the third movie he and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn plan to make together. (Variety first reported the story.) The only problem is that few people have seen a single film the pair has made. More specifically, most moviegoers in the U.S. haven’t seen any of Refn’s work yet. But with the news of the casting and the critical buzz around their first collaboration, Drive, picked up this May at Cannes, there might be some magic brewing between the two artists.

Anyone familiar with Refn’s work will tell you his style is hard to forget. Refn made a name for himself in Europe with the Pusher films, a gritty crime trilogy that boosted the career of future Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen. With 2009’s Bronson and 2010’s Valhalla Rising, he established a small following Stateside for his dark, stylistic and often bizarre films. Bronson found some critical success, but, more importantly, it established its lead, a barely-recognizable Tom Hardy, as someone to watch, and arguably led to his star-making turn in Inception.

Gosling has been particular in the past with the material he chooses — he parted ways with Peter Jackson because he had very different ideas for the character ultimately played by Mark Wahlberg in The Lovely Bones — so working consistently with the same director speaks to the work he and Refn have done so far. Drive, the violent story of a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a wheelman for heists, seems poised to score with audiences this September. Critics at Cannes generally considered it one of the more exhilarating high points of the festival, comparing it to the early films of Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen. Refn walked away with a best director award. Gosling aside, Drive has no shortage of star power, touting a supporting cast featuring Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks. Even with its art-house credentials, the film could break-out at the box office.

Aside from Drive and Only God Forgives, Gosling and Refn have also started developing a remake of the 1976 cult hit, Logan’s Run, after the director recommended his star watch it on the set of Drive. It is still in early development at Warner Bros. and more of a long-term project for the duo. With potentially three consecutive movies in the pipeline, audiences and critics will have to wait until Sept. 16 when Drive hits theaters to see if there is something to this newest actor-director combo. Will we have a new Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro on our hands?

Comments (45 total) Add your comment
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  • Pink Lemonade

    In a word, no.

  • louis

    NO, I still remember Gosling from his days as Young Hercules, so no he is not the DeNiro, Bale, etc.

    • k

      You’re missing out then.

    • Wink

      Gosling being on Young Hercules as a kid/teen doesn’t change how talented he’s clearly shown himself to be as an adult.

      As k said, you’re missing out if you couldn’t look past that to get his performances in Blue Valentine, Half Nelson, The Believer, etc.

      • tracy bluth

        I totally agree.

      • jt

        Wink, Gosling kicked a** in “The Believer “. He truly deserved an Oscar nomination for that incredible performance.

    • alan of montreal

      Oh puh-leeze, an actor’s start has no bearing on their future talent. Jack Nicholson was in plenty of B movies early in his career, Johnny Depp was in Nightmare on Elm Street, Sally Field was in Gidget and The Flying Nun, Morgan Freeman was on the Electric Company, Leonardo DiCaprio was on Growing Pains, George Clooney was on The Facts of Life…Hollywood is riddled with fine actors who have done work in less-than quality television and film.

    • mike

      lol this comment is so idiotic i wonder how you had the courage to post it. Really? you’re going to judge the actor on what he did as a kid?

      • E

        I still remember Leonardo Dicaprio on Growing Pains. Doesn’t change how wonderful he has become.

  • jymmymack

    Can we see their first collaboration first before we start comparing it to some of the greatest movies ever made (Taxi Driver and Raging Bull)? I mean, I’ve heard this movie is great and I’m very excited to see it, but you’re asking us to compare something we haven’t seen to one of the best collaborations in film.

    • tracy bluth

      I agree, I think a better question would be to ask if they’re the next Nolan and Bale or Burton and Depp.

      • Maggie25

        But I mean, my name is Magisterial Guinevere Svefznl. So, you know, if it’s your name it’s your name.

      • Maggie

        Oops, I replied to the wrong one.

  • dee-dee

    Nicolas Winding Refn is i think the most pompous name i’ve ever heard.

    • Maggie

      But I mean, my name is Magisterial Guinevere Svefznl. So, you know, if it’s your name it’s your name.

    • Celimene

      Not cool, dee-dee. A good number of Danes use three names, with the second one being the surname they typically use. Others, like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Nicolas Winding Refn, use all three. Different culture, not pretention.

    • alan of montreal

      Get your head out of your Americentric a*s, dee-dee

  • marty lennon

    Lucky enough to see drive at LAFF. Refn and Gosling are sensational. Brooks has a good chance of winning for best supporting actor. The audience I saw it with seemed completely captured by this film. Maybe they really are a new team.

    • Lola

      What an unfortunate acronym

  • tracy bluth

    It depends on whether the rest of their films together get the same amount of praise as Drive has gotten. However, I wouldn’t necessarily compare them to De Niro and Scorsese, who created some of the greatest films ever (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver) together.

  • Tom

    Aren’t Leo and Scorsese the new De Niro and Scorsese? And like the others before have said, why jumping are you jumping the gun? Let’s see a film first.

    • tg

      right, I think I just said this too. Missed this post.

    • leolover

      that’s what I was thinking haha aren’t Leo and Scorsese the next de Niro and Scorsese. on a side note I rele want Leo to do another movie with Scorsese cause their four collaborations are some of my favorites: aviator the departed shutter island and gangs of new York eh actually island wasnt that good but still LEO + SCORSESE

  • jeremy


  • carrie

    their publicists work hard actually because they only did one film together.I know Hollywood wants that Gosling becomes the next BIG thing ( with Fassbender):see all his photo op with starlets,his dog at LAX or the story with his mum

    • psychoanalyzer

      Exactly. I’ve seen a few of Gosling’s films, and he’s good, but he hasn’t done anything amazing, IMO. I still think his highest grossing film was The Notebook. Not all that exciting or promising, IMO.

      • Deanna

        how much a movie grosses doesn’t determine whether the actor is good or not

      • just another girl (:

        I dont think hollywood wants that haha and i agree with deanna how much a movie makes doesnt tell us if the actors are good haha that’d mean pirates 2 shoulda won oscars for its acting cause it made so much

  • zozo

    any pepol grezy man

  • sally


  • tg

    Actually, it seems like Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorcese are the new DeNiro and Scorcese. But, I agree with earlier posts, let’s have the baby before we name it. Disagree with others, Gosling is a sensational actor, whatever early pedigree. Would be nice if he could find a sponsor, so to speak.

    • lifeafterlost

      YES haha someone who hasnt forgot leo and scorsese

  • PJ

    No, De Niro is much more talented. Gosling is okay but chooses too many roles that are just like himself.

    • tg

      How do you figure? Believer? Half Nelson? Lars and the Real Girl? I agree that DeNiro is quite talented. I’m not sure I know what Gosling is like personally, or DeNiro for that matter.

      • SS

        I agree. Half Nelson is one of my favorite movies ever and he is amazing in it as he is in most things. I don’t get why people have to trash him.It’s not his fault that writers make dumb comparisons.

    • jt

      De Niro is talented, even though in his later years he chose to waste it on crappy films. Also, Bobby is horrible when he is acting or performing live. He was beyond horrible hosting SNL for several episodes.

  • Ugly Jenny

    Gosling didn’t leave The Lovely Bones because of conflict on how his character should be played. He left because of the age issue. He felt he couldn’t look the part of a father and that it was mess with the movie so he left.

  • Jeff C.

    Ryan Gosling is awesome. One of the best actors of our generation.

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