This blog is about to “go Hollywood,” which the best of the blogs often do.
I actually went Hollywood myself about three years ago when Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst shot some scenes right across the street from our house in Connecticut. Our neighborhood church parking lot was being rented by the production company to park their trailers, and the basement was rented for makeup and wardrobe. From my front lawn, I could see the crew grilling franks on a charcoal barbecue. A few times, I saw Gosling’s enormous (by agreeable) head in the passenger side of an SUV while he was being transported from the church to the set, where an entire side of the house was covered with green-screen tarp.
In the end, the movie was a huge disappointment, despite its promising premise and strong cast. I should have known when I kept hearing that shooting was seriously behind schedule. A funky stylized VW Beetle that had been trucked in for a scene was unused; they had to start filming elsewhere before the car got its Hollywood closeup. Then there were countless delays before the movie was quietly released, to sour reviews. Ah well.
Blame the Connecticut curse. None of the movies shot in Connecticut, during a period when the state offered competitive tax advantages to filmmakers, were very successful, and that’s despite the star power of DeNiro, Dicaprio and Gooding Jr.
Now Mr. Gosling is in Yucatán, shooting another movie. We’ll hope there isn’t a Yucatecan movie curse. It seems to me that Yucatán is a perfect spot for filmmaking. Its locales could be a stand-in for so many places, as it was in “Before Night Falls,” which depicted life in Cuba.
In 2009, everyone was saying that Gosling was on the precipice of being the “next DeNiro,” whatever that means. His smart movie-role choices and his intelligently drawn performances seem to bear that out. He’s certainly more of a household name than he was three years ago.
Little seems to be known about the Untitled Terrence Malick Project, which has crews crisscrossing the peninsula. But Gosling won me over some time ago with a quirky and delightfully strange little movie called “Lars and the Real Girl,” and I have no doubt that whatever this film turns out to be, it will be in my Netflix queue.