CANNES, France (AP) — The Cannes Film Festival is missing one of its biggest stars of this year's festival: Ryan Gosling.
The 32-year-old Canadian actor was unable to attend the premiere Wednesday of director Nicolas Winding Refn's film "Only God Forgives." Gosling stars in the Bangkok noir about a boxing club owner pressured by his mother to his avenge his brother's murder.
At a press conference Wednesday, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux read a letter from Gosling apologizing for his absence. The actor is currently in Detroit shooting his directorial debut, "How to Catch a Monster."
"Can't believe I'm not In Cannes," Gosling wrote. "I was hoping to come but I'm on week three shooting my film in Detroit. Miss you all. Nicolas, my friend, we really are the same persons in different dimensions. I'm sending you good vibrations."
His absence is a blow to the festival, which depends on top stars like Gosling to walk its red carpet and draw the world's media attention to the annual French Riviera extravaganza.
Fremaux said he was sad that Gosling couldn't make it.
"He is not with us physically, but as he stated, his thoughts are with us," said Fremaux.
"Only God Forgives" was screened for the media early Wednesday at Cannes, where it drew mixed reviews for its extreme violence and nightmarish Greek tragedy. Refn, who also directed Gosling in 2011's "Drive," said he understood Gosling needing to stay with his production.
"I would never even do it if I was in his situation," said Refn. "One thing is being an actor. When you're directing, it's another arena.
"But I speak to him every day on the phone. In a way, he is here."
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle