The daughter of the actress Andie MacDowell, Qualley had just finished a stint at New York’s American Ballet Theater and was on the verge of joining a professional company in her native North Carolina when she decided she no longer wanted to be a dancer. “I just realized I was chasing an expired dream,” says Qualley, now 21. She eventually enrolled at NYU to study acting, but left after just a semester, when “The Leftovers,” on which she plays the angsty teenager Jill Garvey, was picked up by HBO. Her latest role, as an activist who goes missing in Shane Black’s neo-noir crime comedy “The Nice Guys,” put her face to face with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, who gave her some much-needed encouragement. “My first night shooting, I had to run down the windshield of a car, and it was like 12 degrees and snowing and I was wearing a dress that wasn’t exactly thermal,” Qualley says. “But then Ryan Gosling was like, ‘You look like a superhero,’ and I thought, ‘I’ll stand out in the freezing cold for life now. I’m good.’”
If you’ve ever wondered whether Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe exude the same charm in real life that they do on screen, here’s your answer. 21-year-old actress Margaret Qualley, who stars opposite Gosling and Crowe in the action-packed ’70s-era flick The Nice Guys (in theaters today), says both actors live up to their reputations.
“I don’t know that this will come as a surprise to many people, but Ryan and Russell are both just really giving and kind actors,” Qualley told InStyle. “Plus, they have great comedic chemistry together. I’m such a big fan of them both that I would stick around to watch the monitor while they were filming, even after I was finished with my work. They were real damn funny.”
The Nice Guys is a breakout role for Qualley, who also plays the rebellious Jill Garvey in HBO’s apocalyptic drama The Leftovers. In The Nice Guys, she takes on the role of Amelia, the missing daughter of a Department of Justice employee who requires the protection of Gosling, who plays a private detective, and Crowe, who plays a hitman. As one can imagine, hilarity ensues in scene after scene showing the rescue gone awry. A major benefit of working on the film with funny guys Gosling and Crowe? Crowe’s surprising moves. According to Qualley, “He’s pretty skilled in ballroom dance.”
Margaret Qualley reveals how Ryan Gosling put her at ease while filming The Nice Guys
Margaret Qualley’s first major movie role is in the May 20 release The Nice Guys, with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. No big deal.
The Leftovers actress costars in the 1970s-Los Angeles-set action-comedy as Amelia, daughter of a Department of Justice employee (played by Kim Basinger) who is missing and in need of protection. Enter Gosling and Crowe, playing a private eye and a hitman, hired by Amelia’s worried mother for help.
As Qualley tells EW, her first day on set with the actors was nothing short of crazy…and cold.
“We were shooting the scene where I jump on the car and then I run down the car and I shoot at Ryan and Russell. It was 4 a.m. and it was freezing and and it was, I don’t know, 12 degrees with a crazy wind chill, and I’m wearing that little yellow dress,” Qualley said, “which is kind of a funny thing on its own — it takes, like, three people to zip that thing up. The guy that made Marilyn Monroe’s dresses made it, which I thought was so cool, so I was not going to complain about not being able to breathe.”
But for a little added motivation and to help take Qualley’s mind off the constraining wardrobe, Gosling had some confidence-boosting words for the 21-year-old daughter of actress Andie MacDowell.
“It was all okay because then Ryan said that I was like a superhero,” she says. “So I was like, ‘Well, all right. This makes up for basically dying.’”
The Nice Guys, co-written and directed by Shane Black, also stars Matt Bomer, Ty Simpkins, and Hannibal Buress. Watch our interview with Qualley above.