You wouldn’t be entirely off base if you thought Ryan Gosling was fated to play the role of Luke in director Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines. The two had worked together on 2010’s Blue Valentine with Gosling starring alongside Michelle Williams in the film about the evolution of a marriage.
In fact, it was during the preparation for Blue Valentine that Gosling and Cianfrance discovered a common idea they had each had individually. Cianfrance says he asked Gosling what was something he had always wanted to do in his life, but hadn’t. “It came up that there was this fantasy Ryan always had — robbing a bank on a motorcycle and then making a very specific getaway.” Gosling described robbing a bank — using a motorcycle because it is fast and agile, and the helmet would conceal his identity — and stashing the motorcycle in the back of a truck because the police would be looking for the motorcycle. Cianfrance continues, “I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, I’m writing that movie right now.’ He said, ‘I’m in!’ We had both imagined it in an identical way.”
And while it may not have been fate, per se, that landed Bradley Cooper his role in The Place Beyond the Pines — he plays Avery, an ambitious police officer looking to quickly move up the ranks in a department riddled with corruption — Cianfrance has said he would not have made the film without Cooper. The director drove five hours to Toronto to meet with the actor in person to convince him to take the role, which he had written specifically for Cooper.
One person Cianfrance did have to make The Place Beyond the Pines without is Andrij Parekh, the cinematographer with whom he had worked on Blue Valentine. Two months before filming began on The Place Beyond the Pines, Parekh called Cianfrance and refused to do the film because of the Globe of Death motorcycle stunt that takes place in the opening. Parekh said he’d had a dream that he would be killed shooting the movie. Unfortunately, his fear nearly became a reality when, during the filming of the stunt, Sean Bobbitt, who took over as cinematographer, was almost killed during the filming of the stunt. Despite wearing heavy protective gear and a helmet, he was knocked unconscious when a motorcycle landed on top of him after filming the second take of the stunt inside the cage.
The Place Beyond the Pines is available starting Aug. 6 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2013 Focus Features
Credit: Atsushi Nishijima