Ryan Gosling Reveals How Hope for a Burt Reynolds Friendship Was Dashed by His Mom

Ryan Gosling and Burt Reynolds

Ryan Gosling’s teenage actor hopes for a friendship with late screen legend Burt Reynolds were dashed when he learned that the 1970s movie icon was more interested in his mother.

While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, the 43-year-old Barbie Oscar nominee and star of the new movie The Fall Guy recalled his time spent with the late star of Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance and many more 1970s classics; the two were working together on the 1996 family comedy,  Frankenstein and Me.

Reynolds had something of a reputation for being surly and unfriendly in his heyday, so while discussing the shoot, Kimmel wanted to know if the child actor and veteran star struck up any sort of friendship or rapport. Gosling told him that Reynolds was perfectly nice to him on set, but revealed that this was potentially a plan to win the favor of his mother, Donna Gosling.  

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“I thought he took a shine to me. I thought he thought there was something special about me. And then I realized that I have a really beautiful mom,” Gosling said. “He was just kind of interested,” adding that it felt like a real shine from the interest of a man so famous and accomplished in his new field. 

“It was like I was getting a secondary shine. The real shine was for my mom. And I was like, ‘Oh, this is secondary shine,’” Gosling explained, adding, “I wish I had found out sooner.”

Gosling clarified that nothing ever happened between his mother and Reynolds, who died at 82 in 2018 after a storied career.

After acknowledging Kimmel’s gag that he could have shared a name with fellow star Ryan Reynolds had things gone in a different direction between Donna and Burt, Gosling explained a strange piece of advice he received from the Hollywood veteran.

“He was like, ‘Let me tell you something kid, Don’t spend your whole life stepping over diamonds to live with a cubic zirconia,’” Gosling told Kimmel. “I was like, ‘I’m 13. I don’t know what any of those things are.’ I don’t know what any of that is. Stop looking at my mom. I’m right here.”

Gosling had expressed some shock that Kimmel had even heard of Frankenstein and Me, a family comedy about a teenage dreamer obsessed with the Universal Studios monsters of a bygone era. The Canadian production also starred Louise Fletcher and earned roughly $5,000 at the box office, according to its IMDb listing. 

Reynolds portrays a stuntman in the mid-’90s feature just as Gosling does in his freshly released film, The Fall Guy. The latter also stars fellow 2024 Oscar nominee Emily Blunt and is set to kick off summer movie season this weekend at the box office.

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