Ryan Gosling's most cherished role won't win him any Hollywood awards.
With his musical La La Land charming audiences and Blade Runner 2049 in production, Gosling has a lot on his plate. But what the actor is most excited about is life at home with Eva Mendes and their two daughters, Esmeralda and Amada. "Your whole life, you hear what it's like to have kids, and all the clichés are true. I felt I knew that everything would be different, but until you experience that, there's no way to really know what people mean."
"Eva's the dream mother, and they're dream babies, and it's like a dream that I'm having right now," he explains to GQ. "I'm dreaming it all."
Gosling, who graces the magazine's January cover, says fatherhood has made him a better man. "When you meet your kids you realize that they deserve great parents," he explains. "And then you have your marching orders and you have to try and become the person that they deserve."
Ironically, parenthood was "not something I really thought about, or even thought I wanted," he says. "I didn't have a romanticized idea of it...It came about in a very surprising and kind of organic way. There was nothing kind of premeditated about it, you know. It just suddenly was: My life had changed. And thank God it did."
And Gosling loves the "chaos" of it all. "Maybe in my life I sort of put myself in situations that were chaotic, outside of my life," he says. "And now I have it at home, and I don't have to go looking for it."
He and Mendes have chosen to raise their daughters outside of the spotlight, meaning the girls won't be walking red carpets or appearing in the actors' social media feeds. Ironically, movies were an important part of Gosling's childhood. After seeing Sylvester Stallone's First Blood as a boy, for example, he went to school armed with a bunch steak knives, imitating Rambo himself.
"I think I saw it too young," Gosling says. "I wasn't able to separate those realities. I don't blame it on the film...I just remember there being, like, some injustices on the playground, you know."
After the incident, Gosling recalls, "I had to get control of my imagination."
So, after his school "started feathering me into some special-education classes," Gosling—feeling out of place—turned his attention towards acting. But after a childhood stint on The Mickey Mouse Club, he rarely showcased his singing and dancing talents. Working on La La Land allowed Gosling to "do some of the styles of dance I wish I had spent time on when I was a kid."
As a boy, Gosling was the sole male in his dance troupe, and he'd "shake it like a showgirl." So, when La La Land came around, he feared that modern moviegoers might not accept it. "You know, people are breaking into song and dancing and flying in the stars, and [the audience is] also having to accept them as real people in the world. That was a challenge. There's nothing cynical about this movie, and there's no out for us to say, 'Just kidding!' We can't be ironic about it," he says. "There's no avenue for that in this. It wears its heart on its sleeve, this film."
Gosling is hanging up his dancing shoes to star in the action movie Blade Runner 2049, and he's having the time of his life. "You know, they say don't meet you heroes, but I would say the addendum to that is '...unless they're Harrison Ford,'" he says. "'Cause he's a cool mother--ker."
Filming began in Budapest in the fall of 2016. "It's like three movies that I usually make in one. Just in terms of the length and just the whole scope and experience," he tells GQ of the sequel. "I've never done something so shrouded in secrecy or where there's so much anticipation."
Gosling also confirms rumors that Ford punched him on set, but he downplays the negative aspects. "It was kind of, you know, a rite of passage," he says. "We were just doing a fight scene and, you know, it just happened. But what was funny was, when it was over, they brought ice for my face, and Harrison pushed me out of the way and stuck his fist in the ice. I asked him the other day where he got his sense of humor from—was it from his mother or his father? He said, 'Sears.' And he didn't have much time to shop around so he just had to grab one and get out."
GQ's January 2017 issue is on newsstands nationwide Dec. 20.