Ryan Gosling on His 'Many Firsts' With Netflix and Tag Heuer

Ryan Gosling on His 'Many Firsts' With Netflix and Tag Heuer

For all the anticipation about the upcoming Barbie film, where a viral bleach blonde Ryan Gosling stars opposite Margot Robbie as the ever-dashing Ken doll, there was plenty of buzz surrounding his other major project: The Gray Man, a spy thriller which hit theaters this month before also streaming on Netflix.

With a production budget of $200 million, it is among the most expensive films ever made by Netflix. It was also Gosling's first true action-thriller film as a lead, and a sequel and spin-off are already in development. And Tag Heuer partnered with Netflix on the film, which sees their ambassador Gosling wearing the brand's Carrera Three Hands watch.

Gosling, who's been promoting the film at press stops in Hollywood, Berlin and London (wearing head-to-toe Gucci each time on the red carpet), spoke about the partnership (his first with a brand) at a dinner before the Los Angeles premiere, where British actress Simone Ashley, the film's directors the Russo brothers and Tag Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault were present.

"I know I was shooting Barbie when we shot the [Tag] campaign and we had a lot of conversations about it," Gosling told the crowd. "Secretly, I get a lot of joy out of it because I know that Gray Man would be Ken’s favorite movie. So it warms my heart to see Ken in these pictures. But it has just been an amazing partnership so far with the Russos and Tag and I hope it’s the beginning of many. So thank you all for being here and see you at the next one."

Below, Gosling talks his Tag Heuer partnership and shooting for The Gray Man, out now in select theaters and streaming on Netflix.

Joe Russo, Ryan Gosling, Frédéric Arnault, Anthony Russo

Have timepieces always played a part in your day-to-day lifestyle as well as your films?

One of the first things I bought with what little bit of money I had was a watch. I guess I thought when I was a kid that it meant you had places to go and things to do. So, I’ve had one since I was pretty young and then in the film there’s always a point when you start the movie and a prop person comes up to you and says what watch does your character wear. It’s not something I really thought about before but it is an opportunity to sort of communicate something about your character that’s not necessarily in the script. It wasn’t till I did Drive that I thought I could really use it and communicate something about the character in a really obvious way. For [The Gray Man] this was the perfect watch for this character as he wanted to make sure this character was different from other spies and other action movie heroes. I thought this was really helpful in many ways in doing that.

Was Tag your first partnership ever and what commonalities do you find in choosing to partner with Tag as you do with choosing a role?

No pun intended but the timing was perfect because I had just had kids and I was thinking a lot about time. You know time becomes something, you only have so much of it but then you want to make the most of it. You don’t want to waste it, every second counts, you can hear the clock ticking, they say the days are like years and the years are like days. Time is something that is on your mind and so I’ve always been a fan of branding then fortunately I thought this was really the perfect time and a perfect partner.

Who was the first person that gave you your first watch?

I bought my first watch. I think I was still like a kid I was 5 like paper money or something it was not an expensive watch

What is your idea of quality time?

You know just with my kids they’re little and they’re so perfect right now. I don’t want to miss any of it.

What is the most interesting thing about watches for you?

I think I like that sort of physical reminder that time is ticking. There are so many things that are trying to take your time right now, so many distractions, so many things that try to sort of take your time, and it’s nice to have that sort of physical. When you look at your phone or something it draws you away and then you end up spending more time on it and you just wanted time. It’s nice to have something that doesn’t want anything from you and it’s just there to give you the time.

So the watch you wear in The Gray Man, besides it being just an accessory, why does your character need it? I know you kinda mentioned it kinda helps you separate from the other spies in a way visually, but is there any other reason?

One thing I thought was really interesting about this character that makes him different is that theres a whole lot of jail to do this job — his choices are either die in prison or die as a spy and either way it's like a death sentence. But he chooses the spy life because at least it’s a way to live a little before you die. There is this death sentence on his life and not only as a spy does every second matter, it's a part of the job and it's life and death anyway but for him its extra because he’s already lost so much time and he’s living on borrowed time. I think that the watch is very significant and like a metaphor for this kind of moment of time that he’s in when you meet him in the film.

As you wear Tag Heuer in real life as well as in the film, what are some traits you share with the character?

I don’t know what we share. I know what I kind of admire about him. He just like never gives up just keeps swinging, just keeps going, at one point of the movie he falls out of the plane without a parachute, he still finds a way out of that. It reminds me of that line "So you're saying there’s a chance?” I love those types of characters that just sort of, you know, just keeps swinging. I loved them as a kid especially in action films because of the obstacles they come up against are so extreme that kind of gave me inspiration in my own life because I thought well if they could deal with that then I could deal with this. I don’t know I always kind of wanted to be like that and it’s fun to play somebody who is.

Mechanical or digital watch?

Oh yeah mechanical


One of the things that I like about this character is that he is kind of an analog hero in a digital world. He doesn’t have any cool gadgets, he doesn't have any technology, well you know digital technology. He’s just kind of all he has, he’s very pragmatic, he has his wits, his sort of human ingenuity. I feel like that’s also a way in which the watch and him are aligned, they’re sort of similar in that way. But, I like that, especially not on this one but I have another where you can feel, almost like a heartbeat on your wrist. You can feel every second that goes by it nice, a nice reminder.

Of all Tag watches, which ones stand out the most to you?

The Carrera with three hands is my favorite. It's really elegant and easy to read and you can wear it with anything. In this film there’s many different looks, I start in this heightened red suit and then I go into this tracksuit and then I go into this Eastern European acid wash kind of vibe and the watch stays the same. It has to kind of be able to work in all the different scenarios, the character has to be able to blend in and sort of be able to move between in these worlds. You know the Carrera, I wear it for the same reason it’s something that works in every occasion.

You talked about looks in the film, tell us about personal style, how has that developed in your career?

Well I wear Tag Heuers now which was not always the case. You know I’ve always loved clothes. I have just not always been able to wear the clothes that I loved. I used to have to make them to try to have the stuff that I wanted. I’m lucky now to be able to dress more like I wanted to when I was growing up.

Photos courtesy of Tag Heuer