LOS ANGELES -- Harrison Ford has a running joke that he can't remember Ryan Gosling's name.
"I was delighted for a chance to work with the kid. What's his name?" Ford told The Associated Press earlier this year.
He did it again recently on a talk show, this time sitting next to Gosling.
"Ryan?" Ford asked his "Blade Runner 2049" co-star after a brief pause, dutifully playing the part of the "slightly aloof 75-year-old legend."
"It's Ryan," responded Gosling, 36, in a deadpan voice, playing the "bemused co-star" role in the bit.
Or perhaps it's not a bit at all. It's hard to tell with these two, who somehow manage to whiplash among sincerity, sarcasm and humor in a three-word response.
In a recent interview with the AP it is clear, however, that Ford and Gosling are genuinely amused by one another, even if Ford might not actually know how old his co-star is.
Q. Did you two know each other before?
FORD. Him? No. I met him once or twice casually. But I knew his work. I loved his ambitions. I loved his choices. I loved the filmmakers he chose to work with when he could have had much more obvious choices and I loved what it produced. ... But the producers had been thinking about him anyway so it didn't matter what I thought.
Q. You had some pretty harrowing stunts, including a big set piece in a water tank.
GOSLING. It was a lot like it looks like on camera.
FORD. Things go a lot slower when you're working with mechanical beasts and wave machines. The time between the time it takes to take the takes takes. ... Let me say that again: The time between the time it takes to take the takes, it's not the time it takes to take the takes, it's the time between it takes to take the takes that takes the time.
GOSLING. Is this what peyote feels like?
FORD. (laughs) I wouldn't know.
Q. People have made a big deal about you accidentally punching Ryan, but what was it like to perform that long fight sequence?
FORD. It's complicated.
GOSLING. Touch and go.
FORD. It's complicated
GOSLING. Hit or miss.
FORD. It was a lot of hitting and only one failure to miss. But the camera was moving, Ryan was moving backward, I'm moving forward. I'm the one who can see where the camera is. There are strobe lights going on at the same time. He's reacting to the punches. It was complicated and that's fun. It's physical but it's fun. I remember that couple of days being great until I had to humiliate myself with an apology.
FORD. I had to crawl to your dressing room carrying a bottle of scotch.
GOSLING. He came in and said, "I forgive you."
GOSLING. Which was interesting that he describes it as crawling to my dressing room to say, "I forgive you."
FORD. I didn't need to say that.
GOSLING. No, you didn't! That was big of you.
FORD. A lot of guys wouldn't have made the effort. But I reached out.
GOSLING. It warmed my heart.
Q. Ryan now is basically the same age you were when you became very famous. Ryan, do you hope to follow in Harrison's footsteps and still be doing this when you're 75?
FORD. Let's call it tracks, not footsteps.
GOSLING. His experience is so unique to him. The fact that he, at my age was, well, not beginning, he'd been doing it for a long time before, but at the same time you were a fully formed person before this whole other element got introduced. I guess I can't really say that ...
FORD. You're being generous. I was a late bloomer. It took me a long time to get me to where you are. I don't know how old you are. I really don't. But I think I was about 25 or 26 when I was under contract at Columbia. However much past 25 you are. ... It takes more now. You have to be a lot more real than the business is.
FORD. Back then it was more business than reality. They just wanted to twist you into a shape that resembled something else, something successful. They didn't give a rat's (bleep) about what was individual about you. Anything that might potentially be interesting about you was just not of interest. The business has matured a lot since then and has attracted more mature artists.
Q. Is there anything that worries you about the state of Hollywood or where it's going?
FORD. I'm not a generalist. There is no such thing as Hollywood anyway. It's an imagination. There are movies being made all over the world, stories being told. Incredible films being made in countries you've never even heard of that are just as advanced and emotionally interesting. Hollywood is a state of mind. It's a tourist attraction. But, having said that, there are still enormous resources available for filmmakers. There are opportunities. There are people in the movie business who have a keen understanding of the business and an appreciation for the work and the work that the workers do. But the notion of Hollywood is kind of broken.
Q. What do you think, Ryan?
GOSLING. I'm learning. I'm taking notes, too.
Q. Ryan, does this film have you thinking about whether you'd revisit any of your characters some 35 years later?
GOSLING. The thing is any actor would be lucky to create one character in their career that anyone would want to revisit, let alone multiple times, let alone multiple characters. It's pretty unparalleled what he's doing.
FORD. Participating in my own luck, that's what I'm doing. I grew up in a lucky time in "Hollywood."
GOSLING. Like I said, I'm just taking notes.