Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling
Playing a World War II vet in The Notebook wasn't so much of a challenge for Gosling, thanks to one thing: "Once you're in the outfit, it kind of does the work for you," he says.
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

06/23/2004 AT 06:00 AM EDT

Graduation season came just in time for Ryan Gosling: The 23-year-old actor has officially moved up to leading-man status in the romance epic The Notebook, playing Noah, the star-crossed lover of society girl Allie (Rachel McAdams). It's a big move for Gosling, who's known mostly for his quirky roles (The United States of Leland) and for his way with older women (or at least with onetime girlfriend Sandra Bullock, 16 years his senior). Gosling recently chatted with reporters about his early start in the business, filling the shoes of Notebook costar James Garner and wishing for moves like Karl Malone's.

So, you were a Mouseketeer with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera?
That's the rumor.

Do you feel like you've come a long way since then?
I don't know. I was so young. I don't remember a whole lot about that time except that I rode a bunch of great rides at Disneyland. ... I wasn't really in the show.

What do you mean you weren't really in the show? You were on for two seasons.
I think that they realized right away that I wasn't talented. I couldn't do anything. I don't know how I got on the show. I think that they needed to fill a Canadian quotient.

Is that why you have such good chemistry with your Notebook costar Rachel McAdams? You're both from up north.
She's a lovely girl, and so it's easy to have chemistry with her.

We heard that you and director Nick Cassavetes went around the country searching for women to fill that role.
Well, the truth is that we weren't making the movie when we were doing that.

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So you were just having fun?
Meeting girls? Yeah, it was fun. Really, it's Rachel's movie and she drives it. The main difference with her and a lot of the other girls is that they kept asking us what we thought. They were like, "What do you think? How do you think I should play it?" And I don't know anything about women, and Nick doesn't know anything about women, and so we needed someone who was going to tell us. Someone who would say, "Bottom line, I'm a girl, and I know. This is how I'm going to do it."
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