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Amy Nicholson writes on www.movieline.com – Hey girl, did you know Los Angeles is big enough for two Ryan Goslings?
Meet Richie Calhoun, the adult actor who’s the porn industry’s go-to Gosling equivalent since he starred in the XXX parody of The Notebook, Diary of Love. Calhoun — at present, a smart blonde with big blue eyes, a degree from a top-15 U.S. News & World Report college and an address in L.A.’s very hip Echo Park neighborhood — is such a perfect match for Gosling’s lover/fighter/poet shtick that he was asked to play him again for the adult remake of Crazy Stupid Love (aka Crazy in Love).
“I understand, yes, that from a certain perspective it’s a huge compliment,” says Calhoun of being cast as the porn doppelganger for womankind’s dreamiest hunk of man meat.
So the former improv comedian took the job seriously, studying The Notebook to mimic the way Gosling kisses, cries, and—yes—even dangles from a Ferris wheel.
“I watched for the way he pauses during a speech, where he would look when he was talking. Just the simple little things that I needed to do to have some kind of vague resemblance to his character.” Then he boned his very own Rachel McAdams, starlet Presley Hart.
No other man in Hollywood is as physically linked to Baby Goose, so in honor of the most romantic week of the year, Movieline seized the chance to ask Calhoun about Gosling’s seduction secrets and the probability of getting sex-drenched remakes of Drive and The Mickey Mouse Club.
Alas, Gosling’s latest flick, Gangster Squad did so poorly at the box office that it won’t get a vintage-styled XXX salute. But Calhoun isn’t waiting around to see if The Place Beyond The Pines rates a remake. Ever the heat-seeking missile, he recently dyed his hair red to play the Sergeant Brody character in the porn parody of Homeland, which just picked up three Golden Globes.
Movieline: Are you aware that Calhoun, the last name you chose for your career, is the same last name of Ryan Gosling’s character, Noah Calhoun, in The Notebook? Was that a subliminal way to get women to like you?
Calhoun: I’m aware of that now. I was not aware of that at the time. You’ll have to take my word on it. The origins of my last name were sort of random. I just like that name and I think it has a masculine sound to it with out being too bludgeony, too blunt. When I discovered [that it was the same as Gosling’s character], I realized that people would wonder what you’re wondering, and I don’t care.
Q: If you had done it on purpose, it’d have been brilliant.
Yeah, but it’s not the tone I was going for with the name. I didn’t choose Timberlake or Swayze or Bieber — although people wanted me to choose Bieber and I thought about it, to tell you the truth. I considered it very seriously just because it would be provocative and funny. But ultimately, I realized that there would be a lot of under-aged girls searching for “Bieber” and I just wanted to play fair.
Q: Had you seen The Notebook before you were cast?
I hadn’t. I wasn’t necessarily avoiding it, I just don’t watch a lot of movies. So I watched it once for research. I didn’t cry, although I did find it emotionally affecting. I was paying a lot more attention to Ryan Gosling’s mannerisms, so my appreciation of it was probably blunted.
Q: Could you see why that role is such a crazy turn-on for women?
Sure. I could understand why that’s true of almost every role he’s taken. He does a very good job with his choice of projects: he’s a complete dick who’s actually the sweetest guy on earth. That’s pretty much every movie he’s ever been in. I think that’s a recipe for success in becoming a heartthrob—if that’s your goal.
Q: Diary of Love uses some of the same names of characters in The Notebook and even some of the same dialogue. What is the legality of that?
Well, it’s certainly an area of the law that is evolving. There are parodies, and then there are remakes or homages. I think when you slip into homage, certain parody-related laws don’t apply anymore. It’s tricky.
Q: Tell me about shooting some of the iconic scenes: “Say I’m a bird!” or your big breakdown in the rain where you tell Presley you wrote her a letter every day for 365 days.
I think that Presley leaps onto me probably ten times in the movie. We did a lot of that at construction sites, at the beach—those were easy to shoot. Then I had to start talking and it got harder.
For the bird scene, we just marched out onto the beach and found a random hunk of beach that we could use. We got this shot where a train almost hit us. The rain scene was cool because that was actually at the end of the whole thing. We’d been shooting all day and we were hurrying because the light was changing and we were making fake rain. It was cold and we were freezing and wet. We couldn’t stand still—we were just freaking out and jumping around—so that added a lot of energy.
Q: Does your version of The Notebook envision the kind of sex those characters would have had?
I think the dynamic that Presley and I have is slightly different than theirs. You’d probably get closer to the real thing if you did an animated version, though I would say Tommy Pistol [the star of Horat: The Sexual Learnings of America for Make Benefit Beautiful Nation of Kaksuckistan] does an amazing job of getting inside his characters. I think there’s a certain similarity between me and Ryan Gosling and people can project fantasies onto whatever they’re watching. But I think, ultimately, every sex dynamic you watch is unique to those people. I wouldn’t presume to say it’s like watching Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams having sex.
Q: Did you know they were a real-life couple when they shot the movie?
I didn’t know that! I think that’s charming. That’s a great move for producers and directors to try to engineer something like that. If it works, then you’ve got a legendary romance movie on your hands.
Q: You’ve also shot the Ryan Gosling role for Crazy in Love, in the porn parody of Crazy, Stupid, Love. Did you do the Dirty Dancing lift?
No, we didn’t! And actually, lifting my partner in it would have been easy as pie. The Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone storyline in the porn is minimized compared to the older couple’s story, Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. Our romance didn’t occupy that much of the space, but I think the best parts of the film are Gosling as a foil to Carell—they’re sort of both ridiculous, and shooting those with Steven St. Croix were really fun.
Q: Okay, I can see how you could play the Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love and pull off being sexy. But how do you manage it when you’re playing the Steve Carell character?
Well, he is sexier than Steve Carell. That’s the way porn works. Someone might not have a fantasy about the Penguin from Batman having sex with Catwoman. But if you make that porn movie, then he’s a little slimmer, he’s got abs, [but] he’s still the Penguin.
Q: True, but it’s perilous. I saw a still of James Deen dressed as Quagmire in the Family Guy porn parody, and now I’ll never be able to find him attractive in anything.
In an adaptation of Drop Dead Gorgeous, I played the creepy judge with the comb-over and the Member’s Only jacket, and it was the same thing. My character is not sexy in the original — and he’s not really sexy in this film—until suddenly the sex scene, and then hopefully it’s sexy. To tell you the truth, I think you can do certain things to try to ensure that you’re projecting a sexy image versus a comedic image, but comedians do serious roles and then they go back to comedy and nobody goes, “I don’t find him funny anymore!”
Q: Interestingly, Ryan Gosling is one of the few Hollywood actors to shoot a sex scene that was deemed too hot by the censors: the NC-17 Blue Valentine.
I haven’t seen Blue Valentine, I should check it out. Who’s the girl?
Q: Michelle Williams.
I’m on board. Good work, sir.
Q: What other Ryan Gosling films would make good XXX features?
They’ll probably do Drive. But I guess it would be hard to do all the driving sequences on a porn budget.
Q: He came of age doing the Mickey Mouse Club in the same generation as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Would you want to play Gosling in a porn parody of that?
I don’t know that that’s mainstream enough to make a lucrative porn movie. I would think not. Furthermore, there are difficulties creating pornography that portrays anyone under 18. You could do the Smurfs because everyone assumes the Smurfs are adults, but if you did Goonies, you would have to age up the characters because you can’t portray 14-year-olds in braces having sex with each other. You’d have to make them 18 and in college.
Q: How good of a pick-up line is, “Hey girl”?
I think it works just fine. I think a pick-up is everything that’s not that: whether a person is attracted to you and the rest of your dementia that would sell the line or not. But say, “Hey girl,” and then just don’t have anything else prepared—that’s a good way to do it.
Q: How do you react to being called Baby Goose?
Baby Goose! That’s funny.
Q: That’s his nickname.
Q: Ryan Gosling.
Ryan Gosling’s! I thought you were calling me a baby Gosling. I think that’s a really funny nickname.
Q: If a girl whispered that in your ear, how would you react?
Am I having sex with her at the time? I wouldn’t mind. I think most people are flattered to be told by people of the opposite sex that they look like someone, if they can hear in their voice that they find them attractive. Even if it’s, “You look like John C. Reilly!” and then they kind of swoon a little. Okay, I’ll take that. I don’t know if it works the same with girls in the reverse direction, but guys, we know how to take a compliment. We’re like: “Fine. If it turns you on, that’s your business.”
Q: Do you have aspirations to cross over into mainstream acting like Sasha Grey and James Deen?
Not in particular, no. Working on television for a corporation like ABC or Disney sounds like a nightmare. There’s a certain behavior contract that is formed in something like that. You can try to work a bad boy angle like Colin Farrell who just does whatever the fuck he wants. But though I like acting and acting is fun, it’s not as important to me as I think it should be for someone who’s an actor-actor. On top of that, what doesn’t appeal to me is the public scrutiny and the expectation of good behavior. I have no interest in behaving.