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Nice Guys stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe's first meeting

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Cinemagoers will see Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe onscreen together for the first time ever when director Shane Black’s action-comedy The Nice Guys arrives in theaters on May 20. But the pair initially explored the idea of a collaboration some time back. “A couple of years ago, I rang him about a project,” says Crowe. So? So, it turns out that the pair’s initial meeting got a little out of hand.

“It was kind of a strange situation,” continues Crowe. “I said to him, ‘Do you want to get together, and have just dinner, you and your girlfriend, and me and my wife? Let’s keep it pretty intimate.’ And he agreed to that. So I told my wife, ‘We’re going to have dinner with Ryan on a particular night.’ The next thing, she’s invited, like, a dozen girlfriends to dinner. I’m like, ‘No, no, no! It’s just supposed to be the four of us!’ ‘Oh, he won’t mind!’ So, then, I thought, ‘Well, I can’t just have this room of women.’ So, I invited an equivalent amount of blokes, some other actors, RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. So, Ryan thinks he’s coming to dinner with four people, walks into the room, and there’s, like, 24, 25 people. I could see him looking at me, going, ‘What happened here?’ I didn’t explain anything to him at the time. It wasn’t until later, on the set [of The Nice Guys], working together, when I said, ‘Oh, remember that night…?'”

You can see the trailer for The Nice Guys, below.

A version of this story originally appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1411-1412, on newsstands now or available here.