But Gosling's uncanny, communicative stillness along with his sensitive vulnerability, his serious dedication to his work and, well, the guy ain't bad looking has made him one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, a widely beloved, new-generation idol.
It might be the only role he's uncomfortable playing. Rather than exude preternatural cool, in a recent interview Gosling spoke more with the uncertain, self-critical grasping of a still-developing actor trying to find his foothold in an illusory profession.
Soon to direct his first film, he's looking forward to taking a step back just when movie goers can't get enough. "I've been doing it too much. I've lost perspective on what I'm doing.
I think it's good for me to take a break and reassess why I'm doing it and how I'm doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does," he said.
But first, this spring will bring two new films from Gosling, starting with "The Place Beyond the Pines," his second collaboration with director Derek Cianfrance, whose gritty portrait of decaying love in "Blue Valentine" was one of the first showcases of Gosling's talent for immersing himself in a character.