From his brooding wheelman in Drive to his all-singing, all-dancing Oscar-nominated turn in La La Land, Ryan Gosling is an actor who defies easy categorisation. The attributes his roles do have in common: a willingness to be fearless, to constantly challenge himself and push what’s possible.
Who better, then, to join luxury Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer as its effortless style and commitment to excellence are as central to the man as they are to the brand. And who better than the actor who could be seen as the heir apparent to the legendary Steve McQueen, two men for whom style and substance are one and the same, to drive the brand forward. But Gosling also represents something else: a new breed of masculinity that’s both sensitive and low-key, a confidence that is by definition effortless, much like the brand itself.
“We are thrilled to announce Ryan’s partnership. A star since his early days, he has grown to become an icon – one both enigmatic and inscrutable. He is a true artist who chooses his projects with utmost care and dedicates himself to them like no other, not only shaping his character but the entire creative direction. The movie Drive represents the strongest link with who we are today, and we are excited about the creative projects we have together,” says TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault.
Gosling added: “TAG Heuer has quietly and consistently been a classic and iconic pillar of excellence in its field for over a hundred and sixty years. Partnering with them was an easy decision and time, in general, is just something I think a lot about now. My kids are growing up fast so I keep an eye on the clock in a way I never used to.”
Gosling has become Hollywood’s most versatile leading man by taking on such challenging early films that others may not have such as The Believer, Half Nelson and Lars And The Real Girl. Yet they earned him rave reviews, Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, and a reputation as the most exciting young actor in Hollywood.
But it was Drive that turned Gosling from acclaimed actor into a new type of leading man – one who could lend himself to whip-smart ensembles (Adam McKay’s The Big Short, which co-starred Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt).
Furthermore, in three short years, Gosling went from the smash-hit La La Land (which earned 14 Academy Award nominations and won a Gosling a Golden Globe) to iconic sci-fi revival Blade Runner 2049 (co-starring Harrison Ford) to prestige biopic First Man (in which Gosling played astronaut Neil Armstrong).
Gosling isn’t only fearless in his choice of roles, but fearless when he films them too, shooting many of his own stunts. It’s work that clearly fascinates the actor – not only did Gosling play a stuntman in both Drive and The Place Beyond The Pines, but recently signed on to play one in The Fall Guy, to be directed by a former stuntman in David Leitch. The forthcoming The Gray Man, meanwhile, will be Gosling’s most action-packed role to date.
His commitment to excellence even extended to his very first TAG Heuer ad handpicking the award-winning photographer Pari Dukovic and collaborating with him in every step of the creative process. The result: a campaign of vibrant visuals, inspired by Gosling’s own desire to shoot a campaign unlike any other, and one that marks yet another daring departure for the star.
“Ryan said he wanted to do something completely different. Colour has emotion and it’s completely unexpected. In creating these portraits it was about creating something timeless and timely at the same time. TAG Heuer’s watches have a timeless quality to them and that’s exactly what we wanted to do with the campaign,” says Dukovic.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Gosling’s performances have often drawn comparison to the late Steve McQueen, another leading man with a passion for motoring, stunts and spectacle. And who, like Gosling, became a style icon as well as a movie star.