Ryan Gosling looks focused in a blue and purple lit shot.
On Set

The Gray Man

Directing duo Joe and Anthony Russo, and star Ryan Gosling, explore the many shades of The Gray Man.

13 July 20222 min read

“There’s a sisyphean quality to him,” says co-writer and co-director Joe Russo of C.I.A.-sanctioned mercenary Sierra Six, played by Ryan Gosling, who suddenly finds himself the target of a global band of assassins in The Gray Man. While it’s true that the seemingly insurmountable obstacles repeatedly presented to Six reach mythic proportions — the plane is crashing and the last parachute just went out the door without Six attached to it — the man is mere mortal. 

“There’s something very human about the way that Six reacts to these extraordinary circumstances,” says Gosling. While each chase and fist fight outdoes the last, it’s the emotional blows that’ll really knock you out. “We like to be given the whole range of human emotions,” explains Anthony Russo, the other half of the Russo Brothers directing duo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Infinity War), of the tools they use to pull on heartstrings.

We like to be given the whole range of human emotions.

Anthony Russo

“This heightened sense of reality smashed into emotional truth and psychological realism,” explains Joe. “When you can push those two together, you wind up with something that is explosive.” The chemistry among the cast is equally incendiary, with Gosling sharing the screen with Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, all of whom trained in martial arts in order to deliver the action on this highly realistic set. “It’s great having physical space for the actors to work in,” explains Joe. “It’s nice to be doing an action film with real sets, real vehicles.” Nice, unless you’re the one who’s getting beat up.

“When he gets hit, you feel like it hurts,” explains Gosling of the wounds endured by Six. “When there’s a long fight, you feel like he’s tired. The movie carves out moments where you see that the character also gets hungry and needs to sleep. And so it adds a kind of humanity. I think where we all connected was trying to find a way to humanize this character so that by the end of the film you felt like he had more colors than you would expect from someone named The Gray Man.”