‘The Notebook’ Director Thought Ryan Gosling Was ‘Weird’ Enough to Pull off the Role

Given the unbridled success of The Notebook, it’s wild to consider that the film struggled to find actors who were interested in joining the cast. While the role of Allie Hamilton was highly-sought after, with nine high-profile actors vying for the role, far fewer people were interested in playing Noah Calhoun. Many actors didn’t feel that Noah had enough of an arc and was uninteresting outside of his love for Allie. Of course, the role eventually went to the talented Ryan Gosling, who gave the character tons of dimension.

The Notebook cast Ryan Gosling as its lead
Ryan Gosling | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

While other actors who read The Notebook may have described Noah as one-dimensional and lacking a true character arc, Gosling was able to find the beauty in Noah’s steadfast nature. In behind-the-scenes footage for the film presented by Fandango, the actor shared how he perceived his infamous character.

Ryan Gosling describes his unique character in ‘The Notebook’

“The character is somebody who really is just like a one guy, you know,” Gosling shared about his character in The Notebook. “He’s one friend and one girl and he has one parent now and there’s something beautiful about that.”

Of course, finding an actor who would be able to sell the type of love-at-first-sight connection that Noah had for Allie was a challenge. However, The Notebook‘s director, Nick Cassavetes, felt that Gosling had the right temperament to be perfect casting for the role. “I just thought he was just, sorry Ryan, but weird enough in a certain respect that you would believe that he would know that he could take one look at somebody and know that that was the person for him,” Cassavetes shared.

The movie’s director felt Gosling was great casting because he was weird

And Cassavetes wasn’t shy at all about sharing with Gosling that he wanted him for the role because he was so different from other Hollywood actors at the time. He liked the weird energy that accompanied Gosling and he wanted to utilize it in The Notebook.


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“[Cassavetes] called me to meet him at his house,” Gosling shared in a 2012 interview with Company Magazine when asked about The Notebook. “When I got there, he was standing in his backyard, and he looked at me and said, ‘I want you to play this role because you’re not like the other young actors out there in Hollywood. You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.’”

‘The Notebook’ director says the production company was shocked he wanted to hire Gosling

After getting Gosling on board, Cassavetes had to convince the production company that the actor was the right person to cast in the role. According to The Notebook director, New Line Cinema was taken aback by his choice for the male lead. Fortunately, the production company trusted the director to bring his unique vision to life and the rest is history. While we’d have to disagree with Cassavetes about his declaration that Gosling wasn’t handsome or cool, he was clearly right about the actor being the right person for the job.