For those who felt the twenty-six-year-old Ryan Gosling was questionable casting as the father in the film version of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, it could be that Peter Jackson just agreed with you: according to Variety, Gosling is out, and Mark Wahlberg is in as the anguished, self-destructive Jack Salmon. Ah, "creative differences".
I suppose this could be another Viggo Mortensen for Stuart Townsend situation, but Gosling’s a far more talented actor than the latter. He also exudes a greater degree of maturity. This is why I think he showed up on set with a take on the character that didn’t jibe at all with Jackson’s vision. I mean, he’d already physically committed to the role (packing on twenty pounds and growing a beard); it’s hard to believe that Jackson would’ve miscalculated so badly on a superficial level that he’d have to part ways with one of the best actors working today.
It’s a suspicious exit, but not a disastrous one. Mark Wahlberg’s always had a disarmingly gentle side to his persona; I think he’s better suited to paternal characters than the badass action heroes he’s played to so-so effect in Four Brothers and Shooter. I don’t quite know how he’ll mesh with Rachel Weisz, but they’re both talented performers working with a genius-level director; they’ll figure it out.
And Gosling will hit the free agent market with a twenty-pound pudge. When’s that Cobain movie casting?