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James Marsden Reacts to Renewed Notebook Debate: Lon or Noah?

8. Gosling Was a Little Method

Throughout the film, Gosling actually covered his baby blues and wore brown contact lenses because James Garner, the celebrated actor who played the older Noah, had brown eyes. While the younger Noah was very interested in continuity, Garner, who passed away just one month after the film’s release in July 2004, really didn’t care. According to Cassavetes, Gosling approached the older actor about accents as well…leading to a hilariously awkward conversation. 

“[Ryan] says, ‘I was thinking about accents. There’s all kinds of South Carolina accents—one’s more rural’ and this and that. [Garner] goes, ‘I don’t do accents, kid. They’re stupid,'” Cassavetes said, “And [Ryan] goes, ‘OK. What about eye color? I have blue eyes. You have brown eyes.’ He says, ‘Everyone knows Jim Garner’s got brown eyes. Do what you want, kid.’ [Ryan] says, ‘OK, I guess I’ll wear contacts. What about hair?’ And he says, ‘Do whatever you want, kid. Nice to meet you. See you later.’ Ryan looked at me and said, ‘Shut up, don’t even say a word.’ So that’s just an example of two extremely different types of acting styles. Both are wildly successful.”

Another example of Gosling’s method acting going a little too far was his suggestion that they burn down Noah’s house as a metaphor for his feelings. “He’d come to me and say, ‘Why can’t I burn the house down?'” Cassavetes revealed, “I’d say, ‘Because I don’t even know what that means.’ And he’d say, ‘Cleansing my fire!'” Gosling’s idea didn’t make the final cut, and the gorgeous house is still standing in Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina.

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