Ryan Gosling had been making notes on relationships for five years to prepare for 'Blue Valentine'.
The Canadian actor - who has been romantically linked to Hollywood beauties including Sandra Bullock, Blake Lively and current co-star Michelle Williams - was first connected to the film five years ago, and admits he couldn't stop thinking about how his own experiences could influence the role.
He said: "It made me think about everything. When you're making a movie like this, you wrack your brain to think about your experiences. I had five years to think about it, I had a 'Blue Valentine' file in my brain, so every time something happened in my life or someone else's life, I would ear-mark it and put it in the file. "
'Blue Valentine' reflects on a couple's love in past and present moments in time, with Ryan's Character, Dean, trying to save his marriage with Cindy, played by Michelle.
One of the things Ryan - who dated his 'The Notebook' co-star Rachel McAdams for three years until 2007 - learned from his research was how different movie relationships are to real-life.
He joked: "They're not like they are in the movies, that's for sure!"