Actor and real-life damsel-in-distress-saving hero Ryan Gosling once again proved his decent human being credentials during the audition process for director Shane Black’s new action-comedy The Nice Guys (out May 20), in which he stars opposite Russell Crowe. How? By learning about the background of all the young actresses auditioning to play his private investigator character’s daughter, Holly.

“It was really wonderful, because he showed up, and he actually knew about about each of these kids,” says Black. “He knew what they’d done and some of their history. He had actually taken the time to get to know the kids he was auditioning with. I thought that was pretty remarkable.”

Ultimately, the part of Holly went to Australian actress Angourie Rice.

“We actually flew her in, based on her tape,” says Black. “You know, we were sitting there, scratching our heads, thinking, These [actresses] are all pretty good. Then Angourie came in as the last one and there was just no contest, there was no question, there was no head-scratching. She just sat down, effortlessly adopted a flawless American accent, and proceeded to talk to Ryan Gosling as his daughter — having fun, goofing off, getting serious. It was like watching alchemy. She’s 13-years-old and she’s the soul of the film. I’ve just never seen it.”

You can watch 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.

The Nice Guys
  • Movie
  • 115 minutes