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Ryan Gosling’s Experience Working with a Female Director for the First Time (Officially)

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Opening Box Office Performance

Ryan Gosling’s Experience Working with a Female Director for the First Time (Officially)

Undoubtedly, the highly anticipated film Barbie has become one of the summer’s most talked-about movies. It brings together the perfect blend of childhood nostalgia and star power, a combination that studios are eagerly embracing. Right from the first trailer, it was evident that Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling possessed the ideal comedic timing and chemistry to propel the film to box office success. Yet, it wasn’t just the iconic Barbie and Ken, along with their flawlessly cast variations, that promised the triumph of Barbie; it was the talented writer-director behind the project, Greta Gerwig.

In Hollywood, the term “triple threat” typically refers to actors who can act, sing, and dance. However, Gerwig embodies this concept in a different way. She is not only a skilled actor but also an accomplished screenwriter and director. Such versatility may not seem extraordinary, but it remains quite rare, especially for a woman in the industry. Gerwig has garnered three Academy Award nominations, earning recognition for her work as a writer and director in Lady Bird, as well as a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for her critically acclaimed film Little Women. In 2017, when she lost the Best Director award to Guillermo del Toro, Gerwig stood as the sole female nominee in that category, following Kathryn Bigelow’s nomination for The Hurt Locker in 2009. In the entire 94-year history of the Academy Awards, only seven women have received nominations for Best Director. This isn’t to say that women aren’t directing films—many talented women helm remarkable projects each year—but their work often fails to receive the same level of recognition as their male counterparts. Moreover, the film industry remains predominantly male-dominated, with significantly fewer women assuming directorial roles.

Gerwig’s Best Director nomination for Lady Bird sparked important conversations across the industry about female directors. With the rise of social media and the increasing presence of diverse voices in the entertainment world throughout the 2010s, people became more aware of the eight-year gap between nominations for a female director. As a result, a new line of questioning emerged during press junkets, focusing on high-profile actors who either had a track record of collaborating with female directors (such as Paul Mescal, who worked with three female directors early in his career) or were working with female directors for the first time.

Image via Warner Bros. 

A ‘Barbie’ Sequel Is Already Being Discussed

For Gosling, Barbie represents his first official collaboration with a female director in his three-decade-long career. When asked about this during an interview with Perri Nemiroff, he clarified that he had previously worked with Anna Boden on the 2006 feature Half Nelson. Although Ryan Fleck is credited as the sole director of the film, Gosling acknowledged Boden’s contribution, stating, “[Boden] was definitely the director of the film.” While Gerwig may not be the first female director Gosling has worked with in a technical sense, he had plenty of praise for her unique storytelling style, emphasizing her brilliance, inclusivity, and ability to bridge the gap between drama and comedy. Gosling remarked:

“[S]he’s just such a brilliant person and such an inclusive person. She’s brilliant but incapable of being pretentious. I think what I admire so much about her work is she doesn’t allow herself to create a divide between drama and comedy, and she encourages everyone around her to do the same. So you end up mining places that are in the in-between. It feels very specific to her, but also something that you can relate to because it’s more like life.”

Margot Robbie, who has collaborated with accomplished female directors like Cathy Yan and Josie Rourke, as well as the disgraced director David O. Russell, also joined the conversation. Robbie expressed that when considering directors to work with, she doesn’t categorize them based on gender. In her words, “If I may add on to that, when I make my list of dream directors I want to work with, I don’t divide it into dream lady directors and dream dude directors. It’s like, ‘Who are my top 5 dream directors?’ And Greta’s on that list because she is just an incredible dream director. She is an auteur. She is gonna be the [Stanley] Kubrick of our generation, or whoever she wants to be. She’s gonna be her own thing. It’s not even about female director or not, she just is one of the greats of our generation.”

This Barbie Yearns for More Female Directors

Robbie’s comment about creating a list of her top 5 dream directors prompts an intriguing perspective when considering the scarcity of female directors helming blockbuster features. Looking at the robust lineup of films in 2023, it’s apparent that men like James Mangold, Christopher Nolan, Christopher McQuarrie, James Gunn, Chad Stahelski, M. Night Shyamalan, Guy Ritchie, and Wes Anderson dominate the director’s chair. If an actor were to compile their list of dream directors, it would likely align closely with such a roster. Perhaps, they might also include names like Gerwig, Elizabeth Banks, Eva Longoria, Catherine Hardwicke, or Celine Song—who are directing films currently in theaters. Hopefully, as more actors invest in collaborations with female directors, studios will begin to invest their resources in promoting equality within the directing world. However, considering recent industry trends, it would be unwise to hold our breath.

Barbie will hit theaters on July 21, 2023. To watch the full interview with Robbie and Gosling, check out the video player above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about female director

Is Barbie the first time Ryan Gosling has worked with a female director?

No, Barbie is not the first time Ryan Gosling has worked with a female director. He previously collaborated with Anna Boden on the 2006 film Half Nelson, where Boden’s directorial contribution was acknowledged by Gosling. However, Barbie marks his first official collaboration with a female director in his career.

How did Ryan Gosling describe working with Greta Gerwig?

Ryan Gosling spoke highly of Greta Gerwig, praising her brilliance, inclusivity, and unique style of storytelling. He mentioned that she doesn’t create a divide between drama and comedy and encourages a collaborative approach, resulting in narratives that feel relatable and true to life.

Did Margot Robbie express any thoughts on working with female directors?

Yes, Margot Robbie shared her perspective on working with female directors. She mentioned that when creating her list of dream directors, she doesn’t differentiate between male and female directors. She emphasized that Greta Gerwig is an incredible director, deserving to be recognized as one of the greats of their generation, regardless of gender.

Are there many female directors in the film industry?

While there are talented female directors in the film industry, the number of women assuming directorial roles is still significantly fewer compared to their male counterparts. The conversation around the lack of gender equality and representation for female directors has gained attention in recent years, prompting discussions and calls for more inclusivity in the industry.

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barbiegirl88 July 11, 2023 - 7:30 am

margot robbie’s comment is so true! we shudnt divide directors into male or female. greta gerwig is just an incredible director, doesnt matter if shes a lady or dude. i cant wait to see barbie, it’s gonna be epic!

cinemalover22 July 11, 2023 - 3:25 pm

it’s sad that there arent many female directors in hollywood. we need more equality in the industry. hopefully, more actors working with female directors will change that. let’s support women filmmakers!

moviefan123 July 11, 2023 - 8:33 pm

ryan gosling talking about workin with a female director for the first time is so cool! greta gerwig sounds like an amazing director! i luv how he said she doesnt make a divide between drama and comedy, so relatable!

moviesforever July 11, 2023 - 9:52 pm

thanks for the links! i wanna read more about greta gerwig and her amazing work. she’s a triple threat and a great inspiration for aspiring female directors. can’t wait to see what she does next!


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