What comes to mind when you think of Ryan Gosling movies? Is it he and La La Land cast member Emma Stone dancing their way to your heart? Or maybe it's him in the future world of Blade Runner 2049, or on the political trail with George Clooney in The Ides of March. Whatever it may be, the odds are pretty strong that he's going to give you a performance that sets him apart from most other actors out there. A lot of that comes from the fact that he has a pretty clear view on the characters he takes on: "I think you have to love and hate the characters you play," he admitted to incontention.com. "They're people. It's not as simple as sympathizing with them."

Born Ryan Thomas Gosling on Nov. 12, 1980 in Canada, the actor actually got his start from 1993-95 as one of the cast members of the Disney Channel's The Mickey Mouse Club (which also gave the world Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake; in fact, he and Justin lived together for six months during production of the show). From there he would appear in a number of series, starring in Breaker High from 1997-98, and playing the title role of Young Hercules from 1998-99. His career really began kicking into gear in 2002 when he was seen in the feature films Murder by Numbers and The Slaughter Rule, and hasn't looked back since.

In addition to his various film roles — the guide to which follows — he has also proven himself as a writer (2013's The Conjuring) and director (2014's Lost River). The 37-year-old will be seen later this year as astronaut Neil Armstrong in First Man.