Damon Lindelof once described graphic novel The Underwater Welder as “the most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced,” and Ryan Gosling seems to agree, as he’s snapped up the rights to it. But cool your jets before you start visualizing Gosling in a skin-tight wetsuit wielding a blowtorch, as right now he’s only down to produce rather than star.
Gosling has been quietly producing films since 2010, with Blue Valentine, Only God Forgives and Lost River already under his belt, and The Underwater Welder looks like a sterling addition to the set. The graphic novel is written by award-winning author Jeff Lemire, known for his DC work on Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing and Green Arrow, as well as All-New Hawkeye and Extraordinary X-Men for Marvel.
It tells the tale Jack Joseph, an offshore oil rig suba diver responsible for underwater repairs. Back on shore, his pregnant wife awaits his return, leaving him suffering both the pressure of deep sea diving and fatherhood. On a routine dive one day, Jack encounters a supernatural presence at the bottom of the ocean, which throws his reality into a tailspin. This certainly sounds like a perfect role for Gosling, though he may balk at the notion of spending the majority of a shoot submerged in a studio backlot water tank. We sure would.
The Underwater Diver is an ambitious, complex and emotive work, and was named as one of the best graphic novels of 2012. I’ve always had a soft spot for underwater films, with the notion of encountering unexplained phenomenon on the sea floor working gangbusters in James Cameron’s The Abyss. As such, I’m definitely excited to see what the actor can do with this project.
In the meantime, if you’re desperate for a dose of Gosling, you can catch him later this month in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song and then in the hotly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 in October.