Ryan Gosling's confidence was so fragile as a young actor that he grabbed on to any praise, even if it was insincere.
The 36-year-old’s new film La La Land sees him play a struggling jazz musician who falls in love with an aspiring movie star played by Emma Stone.
In real life Ryan has also had his fair share of rejection, and initially found it difficult to make it in Hollywood after first tasting success as a child on Disney TV show The Mickey Mouse Club.
The actor told Buzzfeed News that holding on to any praise, even if it wasn’t true, kept him going.
"(A casting director) stopped me in the middle of the audition... said she didn't need to hear any more because she hadn't felt this way since she discovered this actor that I won't name," he recalled.
"Then a few weeks later, a friend of mine auditioned for her; she stopped him in the middle of his audition and said she hadn't felt this way since she discovered this other actor."
He added, "I tried to block it out... Even though I had a lot of evidence to support that she was just saying this to a lot of people, it was nice to have that experience. It's so fragile, your sense of yourself, when you're young. It's those people who give you those little bits of something firm."
But the star doesn't regret having a down period as an actor before becoming a star.
"One thing you don't realize in the beginning (of your acting career) is how lucky you are not to be getting parts. At the time it feels devastating because you think everything is your chance. You're more lucky for the things you didn't get than the things you do, 'cause they could change the course of your life,” he mused.
His co-star Emma agrees with the sentiment, saying that if she'd previously won a part in a TV show then she would have missed out on her starmaking role in 2007's Superbad.
"The things that I went in for with (casting director Allison Jones) over three years were things I wanted so badly," she explained. "TV shows that would've gone on for years. It is funny how the things that happen in your life can feel terrible in the moment but lead you to those places."