Ryan Gosling: I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does

The Drive actor signals a retreat from Hollywood as he signs up to direct his first movie
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Ryan Gosling might just have been named Hollywood’s best dressed actor but it seems the star is set to retreat from the limelight – and will take his sartorial prowess with him.

Gosling, who gained heartthrob status in The Notebook, and has recently had mass exposure from Crazy, Stupid Love, Ides of March and Drive, has just signed up to direct his first film, How to Catch a Monster. He said in an interview that he wants “to take a break from myself” and acting.

Speaking to Associated Press he said: "I've been [acting] too much. I've lost perspective on what I'm doing. I think it's good for me to take a break and reassess why I'm doing it and how I'm doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does."

But the Gosling drought hasn’t quite arrived as his latest films, The Place Beyond the Pines and Only God Forgives, hit cinemas this summer.

In The Place…, directed by Blue Valentine’s Derek Cianfrance, Gosling plays a tattooed motorcyclist in a travelling circus opposite his real-life girlfriend Eva Mendes.

"One thing that kind of handed me the key to the character was that I totally overdid it with the tattoos," said Gosling, who has a teardrop beneath his left eye in the film.

"I said to Derek, 'I got to lose this face tattoo. It's the worst. It's so distracting and it's going to ruin everything.' And he said, 'Well, I'm sure that's how people with face tattoos feel. So now you have to pay the consequences of your actions.' So I had to do the whole film with it and now see it on posters. It gave me a sense of shame that I feel was inherent to the character."

Since Gosling’s 2001 breakout film The Believer he has regularly taken time out from the movies. Speaking to The Independent last year he described becoming disillusioned with filmmaking.

"These last few films have been good because they've brought back that time for me. You know, when everything was like a wonderland. Everything was new and magical," he said.

The Canadian-born 32-year-old started out in show business at the age of eight as a Mouseketeer alongside Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and all the gang on The Mickey Mouse Club in Orlando, Florida.

Speaking to AP he said: “The more opportunities I'm given, the more I learn about how easy it is to f*** it up. You fight for freedom and then you get it, and then you have enough rope to hang yourself. It's like trying to exercise some restraint because I do have so much freedom."