CANNES, France -- One of the biggest stars on the Croisette this year isn't even on the Croisette.
The question is: Will he be?
Ryan Gosling is to premiere his new movie, the Nicolas Refn Thai revenge drama "Only God Forgives," at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. And forget economic meltdown, Syrian civil war or Robert Pattison -- the question among both the photo-snapping masses here and the equally enthusiastic photo-posters online has been: Will Gosling make it?
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Those associated with the film have been pushing for Gosling to come and take his moment in the Cannes limelight for the second time in three years (he came in 2011 with "Drive," also from Refn) -- and, oh yes, generate just a small amount of publicity for the violent foreign-set film.
But Gosling has been filming his directorial debut, "How to Catch a Monster," in Detroit, and scheduling a transatlantic flight in the middle of a shoot isn't easy. If he was acting, say those in charge of coordinating travel plans, a director could have just scheduled around him for a few days. But that's a lot harder to do when you're the one behind the camera.
"We're trying every day," Refn said. "A lot of talk about tickets." When asked if he thought Gosling would make it, he said, "That's the hope.
In an event that's lacking an unassailable A-lister such as Brad Pitt -- he made it the last two years -- Gosling would arguably be the most marquee male American to hit the festival, though James Franco and Matt Damon might have something to say about that.
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Whether or not he comes, Gosling presence has already been felt here. "How to Catch a Monster" has been selling briskly to foreign buyers in the film market. And in the Cannes out-of-competition title "Seduced and Abandoned," James Toback's and Alec Baldwin's documentary about the film world shot at last year's festival, the filmmakers ask young women up and down the Croisette who's the one male star guaranteed to bring them to the movies. Their unanimous answer? The Gos-man.
Gosling then makes an appearance in the film, in which he describes the sorry audition process and the challenges with performing on a movie set. (To wit: By the time you get to the last take, you've become a "robot ... and that's the one they use.") It should be noted that he is not eating cereal in the movie.
Gosling last made a big public splash two months ago at the New York premiere of "Place Beyond the Pines," in which he stars with Eva Mendes. But coincidentally, he missed a major event -- the Golden Globes in 2012 -- because he was shooting a new film. The movie in question? "Only God Forgives."