Supporting Roles: Ryan Gosling as Darfur Activist and Humble Star

Actor Ryan Gosling shared the spotlight with Omer Ismail, John Prendergast and Betty Bigombe at the Campus Progress conference yesterday.
Actor Ryan Gosling shared the spotlight with Omer Ismail, John Prendergast and Betty Bigombe at the Campus Progress conference yesterday. (Sam Emerson - New Line Cinema)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How to avoid being a pompous celebrity activist type? Follow the lead of Ryan Gosling. Headlining a panel here yesterday with the title of "Confronting Genocide and Mass Atrocities," the young Oscar nominee took an abashed, self-deprecating approach.

"For some reason, there's an interest in what people who do what I do have to say," the actor murmured. "I don't particularly have that much to say . . . but I do have these experiences that I can relay. I'm honored to have these experiences."

(Aw, shucks. We're not going to be able to make fun of this one.)

The 27-year-old Gosling was Hollywood's rep to this year's Campus Progress National Conference, a confab of about 300 lefty college activists at the Omni Shoreham. His topic: Darfur. Gosling sounded sheepish, reports our colleague Marissa Newhall, describing the way the children he met on a visit to refugee camps stared at him: "Not like I was just some actor from Hollywood who was there to have an experience. They looked at me like I was somebody who could really do something. And I didn't consider myself in that way."

He added: "I still can see the way they looked at me."

Gosling -- close-cropped hair, cargo-style shirt, navy pants, combat boots, gold watch -- spoke softly and deferred to his fellow panelists, ENOUGH Project Co-chairman John Prendergast and African activists Betty Bigombe and Omer Ismail, playing interviewer and letting them tell the stories. The four had obviously spent much time together, evidenced by the convivial banter. The actor playfully flirted with Bigombe, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, praising her beauty until she in return joked how handsome he was.

"I'm single, by the way," Gosling noted, drawing whistles and hoots from the college gals. "Do what you want with that."

Conventional Wisdom

News and notes on the path to the 2008 nominations.

· Like father, like son: Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth," "Deadwood") is shooting a biopic of Barack Obama for the Democratic National Convention. Guggenheim's father, Charles, won an Academy Award for his iconic " Robert Kennedy Remembered," which debuted at the Dems' Chicago convention 40 years ago, shortly after the candidate's assassination.

· Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, 51, sidestepped the bachelor curse with his engagement to Carole Rome, 38, last Thursday. Crist, who's on the short list for consideration as John McCain's running mate, was briefly married as a college student but has been single for 28 years. The only never-married vice president in U.S. history, William Rufus deVane King, died in 1853 after serving only 45 days under Franklin Pierce. Crist and Rome are reportedly planning a fall ceremony -- assuming they have time to plan a wedding.

Love, Etc.

· Born: A son, to Matthew McConaughey, 38, and model Camila Alves, 24, Monday night in Los Angeles. The often shirtless actor notably announced in January that he was "stoked and wowed" by his girlfriend's pregnancy; this time he's merely "elated." No name yet announced for the 7-pound 4-ouncer.

· Split: Drew Barrymore, 33, and actor boyfriend of about a year Justin Long, 30, her rep told reporters yesterday. He's best known as "the Mac guy" from those Apple ads. They recently worked together in the forthcoming film version of (oh, this is sad!) "He's Just Not That Into You."

This Just In . . .

· A New York judge threw out Gary Condit's defamation lawsuit against Dominick Dunne yesterday. The former congressman had sued the Vanity Fair writer for slander over remarks Dunne made on "Larry King Live" in November 2005 about Condit's alleged involvement in the disappearance and death of intern Chandra Levy. ("I think he knows more about what did happen than he has ever said," Dunne said on the show.) U.S. District Judge Peter Leisure dismissed the suit, writing that the writer's remarks concerned media speculation about the case and did not amount to slander. This was Condit's second lawsuit against Dunne, who paid him an undisclosed settlement in 2005.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

· Daniel Dae Kim-- yes, the hot but doomed Jin from "Lost" -- visiting the Capitol Monday with his wife and two sons. The actor brought his family to Washington to do the tourist thing; also hit the White House and Spy Museum yesterday, we're told.

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