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Category: Nicolas Winding Refn

'Drive': Nicolas Winding Refn discusses his grim fairy tale

December 12, 2011 |  2:59 pm

With its gleaming, neon-lit nightscapes and a cast led by Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, the car-meets-noir thriller "Drive" is often a treat for the eyes. Even so, the film is punctuated by moments of graphic violence, which some critics — including the Times' Kenneth Turan — found gratuitous.

For "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn, who recently attended the Envelope Screening Series, the film's unflinching gore is a necessary element of what he considers to be a modern fairy tale.

"The whole idea of the movie in terms of the structure really came out of the Grimms' fairy tales," Refn said. "The idea [was] that the film was basically about a man who falls in love with the purity of love."

Such fairy tales, Refn said, always start sweetly: "And then when it flips, it goes very dark and extremely violent in its tone and what you see. But in a way, you need that to counter the other."

Check out the video above for more of Refn's thoughts on violence in art — and to find out how "Pretty Woman" inspired "Drive."


'Drive': Albert Brooks recalls a breathtaking deleted scene

'Drive': Albert Brooks sheds light on his dark place [Video]

'Drive' director Nicolas Winding Refn on serenading Ryan Gosling

— Oliver Gettell

'Drive' director Nicolas Winding Refn on serenading Ryan Gosling

December 8, 2011 |  4:59 pm

Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling
Sometimes partnerships form in the unlikeliest ways. For "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling, an awkward first meeting seemed to threaten the chance of them ever working together but ultimately kindled a serious bromance. The fast friends are expected to re-team on a "Logan's Run" remake and as many as two other films.

At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series, the Danish director recalled the bizarre circumstances of his first encounter with Gosling.

"That was a very strange date," Refn said. "We had never met, but he asked if I would meet him for dinner. The only dilemma was when I came in, I had gotten the flu on the plane. I was very sick. And so we met, but to get my fever down, I had gotten these anti-flu drugs … it made me high as a kite."

Refn was so zonked and aloof that he barely made it halfway through dinner, at which point Gosling drove him home. But on that fateful ride, Refn's pitch, which consisted mostly of a spirited radio singalong to REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling," must have struck a chord with Gosling, who was already halfway in character as a wordless driver prowling the streets of Los Angeles. The rest is history. Watch Refn tell the whole story in the video below.


'Drive' offers road thrills but loses some critics with gore

'Drive': Albert Brooks recalls a breathtaking deleted scene

Albert Brooks in 'Drive': Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling. Credit:  Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

'Drive' locations: Refn's film shows grittier sides of L.A.

September 21, 2011 |  4:45 pm

Drive ryan gosling
“There are 100,000 streets in this city …” begins Ryan Gosling’s getaway-car driver in his new L.A. noir, “Drive,” and over the course of the film, he explores a good number of them.

But forget Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Mulholland — “Drive” isn’t going there. Starting near MacArthur Park and ending on Sherman Way in the San Fernando Valley — and cruising in-between through colorful locations downtown and along the concrete banks of the L.A. River — “Drive” finds beauty in unlikely places. Gosling’s character may live on the fringe of glamour (he’s a part-time stunt driver for the movies) but his reality is the gritty side of the city, with its greasy garages, seedy strip malls and grimy grocery stores. The film does feature the Pacific Ocean, but mainly as an accessory to a crime.

Multimedia: L.A. through the eyes of "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn

It’s no accident that the movie shows an L.A. that’s well off the tourist map. Gosling, whose drives around the city with director Nicolas Winding Refn helped inspire the story, used to live at 4th and Main streets downtown. He said he “fell in love” with the neighborhood and hasn't “seen it represented properly in films before.”

The city depicted in “Drive” is one that some viewers will find completely alien; others will regard it as hauntingly familiar. Whether you’re in the former group (and wondering just where this strange L.A. is), or the latter (and have gotten an odd twinge of recognition at seeing your local pizzeria pop up on the silver screen), here’s a look at some of the key locations:

View 'Drive' map in a larger map

Drive MacArthur Park MacArthur Park
Real place: corner of W. 6th Street and S. Park View Street, Los Angeles

Driver (Gosling) and Irene (Carey Mulligan) live at the Park Plaza apartments on S. Park View Street, across from the park. She’s in #408, he’s in #405. Driver’s window affords him a view stretching from the Westlake Theatre east to downtown. No hipsters and gentrifiers here—it’s the park where Driver later meets Irene’s husband, a thug and a female accomplice (Christina Hendricks) in one of the movie’s many menacing moments.

Echo Park market
Real place: Big 6 Market, 500 block of S. Rampart Boulevard, Los Angeles

Driver’s trip to the grocery turns serendipitous when he spots Irene and her son Benicio shopping in the cereal aisle. In the parking lot, her car breaks down, and Driver offers them a ride home. It pays, apparently, to shop local.

Shannon’s Garage
Real place: Picture Car Warehouse, 8400 block of Reseda Boulevard, Northridge

When he’s not doing stunts for the movies, Driver is often under the hood at a garage owned by the weathered Shannon (Bryan Cranston). When Irene has her car towed to the garage, Shannon urges Driver to give Irene and Benicio a lift back to the apartment, as a tentative hint of romance begins to bloom.

L.A. River
Real place: L.A. River near Reseda and Victory boulevards, Reseda

On the way home from the garage to MacArthur Park, Driver, Irene and Benicio take a detour, driving along the concrete banks of the river, and finding a little oasis of sorts. Gosling, it turns out, had his own idyllic moment here. “Nic wanted something different and romantic for [Driver and Irene] to do. I’d heard that you can actually drive up the L.A. River,” Gosling recalled. “So we tried it, and it worked—until we got to this one spot where out of nowhere there was this patch of shrubs and trees and you couldn’t go any further. There was no reason for it to be there. It was kind of magical.”

  Ninos pizzeria Nino’s Pizzeria
Real place: Vincenzo’s Pizza, 11000 block of Balboa Boulevard, Granada Hills

When we first see it, Shannon comes to Nino’s Pizzeria to ask Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) for $430,000 so Driver can have a race car. The restaurant is more an office for the menacing Nino (Ron Perlman) than a real eatery (they snack on Chinese food, not pizza). It’s also the site of one of the movie’s most graphic scenes. Let’s just say that local restaurateurs might want to stock plastic forks from now on.

Pawn Shop
Real Place: Santa Clarita Elks Lodge, 17700 block of Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita

Driver idles in the parking lot as he waits for a criminal to finish a robbery. (He’s lending a hand to help Irene’s husband get out of trouble.) But Driver’s good intentions go all wrong in a matter of minutes.

Point Mugu
Point Mugu State Park and beaches

When things go bad at the pawn shop, a car chase ensues near Malibu and Driver is set on a collision course with Bernie and Nino. Later, on a deserted, foggy crag, Driver and Nino have a late-night run-in that ends in the surf. A car is the weapon and the Pacific Ocean, so often in cinema a symbol of peaceful respite or lofty dreams, becomes something far more sinister.


Movie review: 'Drive'

Is Ryan Gosling turning into George Clooney?

Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn share the ride

-- Julie Makinen and Steven Zeitchik

Top photo: Ryan Gosling in "Drive."

Middle photo: A "Drive" scene filmed in MacArthur Park.

Bottom photo: Ryan Gosling in "Drive."

Photographs by Richard Foreman Jr. / FilmDistrict

Campaign for Ryan Gosling's 'Drive' gets turbocharged [Trailer]

July 22, 2011 |  2:40 pm

It's not easy to convey the full effect of an edgy mood piece such as "Drive" in two minutes of trailer time. But this new spot for the Nicolas Winding Refn-Ryan Gosling collaboration, which was a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival (where it won Refn the director prize) and is garnering buzz at Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend, does a respectable job.

The material begins by tossing out many details of the film's surprisingly intricate plot (Gosling plays a getaway driver who gets mixed up with an assortment of colorful mob figures while also in a complicated entanglement with a young mom played by Carey Mulligan), then finishes with a musical montage that better suggests the movie's distinct style.

"Drive" strikes us as the kind of film that will bring in very different sorts of people for very different reasons -- some will see it for the thrill-happy car chases, some for the director's vision, some for the chance to watch Gosling in an entirely different (and laconic) guise. The movie opens Sept. 16; it's already looking like one of the genre breakouts of the fall.


With Ryan Gosling's Drive, a different Dane gets his due

Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Refn look toward a different genre

Viggo Mortensen teams up with Drive writer for Patricia Highsmith adaptation

-- Steven Zeitchik




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