Ryan Gosling Once Revealed What It Was Really Like to Work With Denzel Washington in ‘Remember the Titans’

“Remember the Titans” has certainly become a long-remembered film. The 2000 production, starring Denzel Washington, proved to be a groundbreaking, widely respected film that’s become iconic over the past two decades.

The movie starred Washington as Coach Herman Boone, but it proved to give a number of other actors their breakout role — including Ryan Gosling, who remembers what it was like to work alongside an established actor like Washington.  

Ryan Gosling with Denzel and Pauletta Washington
Ryan Gosling with Denzel and Pauletta Washington | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TNT

‘Remember the Titans’ has become one of the most respected Disney films of all time

The football film, which is based on a true story, explores the racial tensions in Alexandria, Virginia in the early 1970s. At the start of the movie, T.C. Williams High School had recently integrated, which meant the football team would consist of black and white players as opposed to one race or the other.  

Through plenty of trials and tribulations, Boone manages to bring his team together, starting with essentially forcing them to interact with one another based on their positions on the field. Over the course of the movie, the men bond, bridging the gap between black and white. And by the movie’s end, the football team’s success — plus a tragic car accident — manages to bring the entire school together.

Denzel Washington portrays Coach Herman Boone in 'Remember the Titans'
Denzel Washington portrays Coach Herman Boone in ‘Remember the Titans’ | Getty Images

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Ryan Gosling recalled what it was really like to work with Denzel Washington

The stars of the movie had plenty of positive words to say about the film. “I don’t think it’s a football movie; I think it’s a movie about the potential of the human spirit,” Washington told ET back in 2000. “I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true.”

Though Washington had plenty to say about the movie, other stars had plenty to say about the man portraying Coach Boone — including Ryan Gosling, who earned his breakout role as cornerback Alan Bosley. “You sort of just get used to his celebrity and think of him as Denzel,” Gosling told ET at the movie’s premiere. “But when you actually work with him, you really appreciate him for just the artist that he is.”

“He really kind of commanded all of us,” Gosling continued. “There wasn’t a whole lot of acting involved from us because when Denzel looks at you, and he’s yelling at you, you’re like, scared, and you just do what he says.” Gosling laughed at his own comment, as did actor Craig Kirkwood, who played Jerry “Rev” Harris.

Other stars, such as Hayden Panettiere and Donald Faison, earned their breakout roles in the movie  

The film served as a jumping off point for several actors to kickstart their own lengthy careers. Gosling has gone on to appear in other films such as “The Notebook” and “La La Land.” Hayden Panettiere, who played Cheryl Yoast, also went on to develop a successful career, starring in “Bring It On: All Or Nothing” and “Nashville,” among other productions. Donald Faison, who played Petey Jones, has most notably appeared in “Srubs.” And Kate Bosworth, who played Gerry Bertier’s girlfriend, Emma Hoyt, has also appeared in films such as “Blue Crush” and the Netflix film “Before I Wake.”