'The Actor' Will Star Ryan Gosling As An Actor With Amnesia Stranded In A Mysterious Small Town

Ryan Gosling already has several new projects in the works, but one more won't hurt. Gosling is now set to star in The Actor, a thriller based on the Donald E. Westlake novel Memory. Gosling will play a 1950s actor from New York named Paul Cole, who is beaten, left for dead, and suffering from amnesia in a small, mysterious Ohio town. Duke Johnson, co-director of Anomalisa, will helm a script he co-wrote with Stephen Cooney.

Deadline broke the news on Ryan Gosling starring in The Actor, revealing that Gosling will play "New York actor Paul Cole, who is beaten and left for dead in 1950s Ohio. Stripped of his memory and stranded in a mysterious small town, Paul struggles to get back home, piece together and reclaim the life and identity he's lost. The Actor follows a journey relatable to many: to find home, to find love, and ultimately to find ourselves."

The film is an adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake novel Memory, which has the following synopsis: "Hospitalized after a liaison with another man's wife ends in violence, Paul Cole has just one goal: to rebuild his shattered life. But with his memory damaged, the police hounding him, and no way even to get home, Paul's facing steep odds – and a bleak fate if he fails..."

Donald E. Westlake wrote more than 100 novels during his career, and Memory was actually a "lost" novel that was published after his death. As the book jacket puts it: "This final, never-before-published novel by three-time Edgar Award winner Donald E. Westlake is a noir masterpiece, a dark and painful portrait of a man's struggle against merciless forces that threaten to strip him of his very identity." Duke Johnson is directing the pic and writing the script with Stephen Cooney.

Gosling hasn't appeared in a feature film since 2018's criminally underrated First Man, but he has several projects on the horizon. He's starring in the Russo Brothers Netflix movie The Grey Man alongside Chris Evans, he's making an astronaut movie with Phil Lord and Chris Miller called Project Hail Mary, he has an untitled movie about a stuntman lined-up with director David Leitch, and he's set to star in Leigh Whannell's new take on The Wolfman. With all that in mind, it's unclear when he'll get around to shooting The Actor. Both The Grey Man and Wolfman are reported to be in pre-production, so he'll be working on those titles first.