By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 2, 2011 at 6:37AM
When you've got it, flaunt it. In Nicolas Winding Refn's indie-financed, $13-million Drive, Ryan Gosling scores in his first Steve McQueen-style action role as a stuntman and getaway driver who is in complete control: until he allows himself to be entrapped by a young neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her son. Gosling is Drive's primary selling point. Why not show what you got? He's never looked better.
Drive will be a another hit for FilmDistrict when it opens September 16. The distributor followed its successful Cannes launch with a Hall H presentation at Comic-Con, which Gosling did not attend, due to promo duties for Crazy, Stupid, Love, which opened better, at $19.3 million, than folks were expecting. The actor has two films playing in Toronto, Drive and George Clooney's The Ides of March, in which he plays a shark-like political operative. And he's playing a motorcycle stunt driver in Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance's currently filming The Place Beyond the Pines, co-starring Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes.
More on Gosling and Refn's next film below, along with the red band Comic-Con Drive trailer.
Rising star Luke Evans (Tamara Drewe) was to star in Refn’s next film, Only God Forgives, starring Kristin Scott Thomas as Evans’ tough-gangster mom, to be shot in November in Bangkok, Thailand for nine weeks. But in-demand Evans has seven films in the can, including Immortals and The Raven, and is committed to Wellywood shoots on back-to-back Hobbit films.
Now Gosling will take on the movie, which is set in a brutal criminal Thai boxing/heroin-running milieu. More of Refn’s trademark violence is inevitable. Gaumont and Wild Bunch will co-produce and co-finance the movie and share international rights. FilmDistrict plans a 2012 stateside release. Hitching your star to a hot director is a much smarter way to go than risking turning up in lousy movies such as The Three Musketeers, which looks just awful. Evans' heat could be diminished, but one can hardly blame him for wanting to work with Peter Jackson.