Ryan Gosling and 'The Fall Guy' Charm SXSW in World Premiere

“The Fall Guy” cannon-rolled into SXSW on Tuesday, injecting a big dose of star power and a movie that celebrates moviemaking into the Austin atmosphere as the festival reached its halfway point.

The Universal Pictures action-comedy stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt and Hannah Waddingham in a romantic comedy romp that bears no resemblance to the drama series that aired on ABC from 1981 to 1986. Gosling plays a veteran stuntman for a self-obsessed movie star who gets wrapped up in a murder plot and falls in love with a budding director.

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“It was a love letter to stunts and to crews,” “Fall Guy” director David Leitch explained to the SXSW crowd after the film had its world premiere at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. Leitch noted that Gosling’s incredible versatility as an actor gave them a lot of room to expand the story.

“Ryan’s an amazing actor,” said Leitch, who previously worked as a stuntman. “He gets to do all these different roles: comedy, action, romantic lead. This film has all of it. We were able to lean in to all the skills we have.”

Gosling said he took inspiration from Leitch and his wife, “Fall Guy” producer Kelly McCormick, who have worked together on films such as “Bullet Train” and “Atomic Blonde.” The pair reflected “an incredible love story,” Gosling said. “They treat their crew like familiy. It was incredible to watch. There was inherently a love story at the heart of this movie with the two of them.”

Gosling also had kind words for his co-star Blunt: “Emily could create chemistry with a trash can. She just came she brought that ‘Blunt force’ to the movie,” he quipped.

“The Fall Guy” incorporates a movie-within-a-movie concept as Blunt’s character moves from camera operator to the director’s chair. The movie’s depiction of the filmmaking process as “very, very accurate,” Blunt told the crowd. “There’s always a bit of chaos [on set]. The bigger the movie gets, the more chaotic it gets.”

Gosling reinforced Leitch’s view that “Fall Guy” hopes to bolster the audience’s appreciation for all that it takes to make a film.

“We hope that it’s reflective of how much the crew gives to every film,” Gosling said. “There are so many cynical movies about moviemaking. The crews care so much. They give so much, it’s amazing. It’s things no one will ever notice. They put so much love and attention into every detail. And they get no credit — well, they get a credit at the end but it goes so fast. It was fun, on some small level, to reflect how much they care.”

The film includes a direct plug for stunt performers to finally receive their own award category at the Oscars. Leitch and McCormick produced the segment saluting the stunt work of 2023 that aired on ABC during Sunday’s 96th annual Academy Awards ceremony.

Leitch said he’s hopeful that a stunt trophy will come into fruition in the coming years after decades of lobbying. “I think the Academy wants it,” he said. “I think it’s going to happen.”

(Pictured: David Leitch, Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling)

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