The Backstreet Boys did fine as they were, and Ryan Gosling did more than fine as he is now. But there’s a stray timeline in which Gosling, who came up as a Mouseketeer alongside several other future pop stars, might have been one of the five dudes filling harmonies on “I Want It That Way” rather than the Oscar-nominated fuck ideal of everyone on Tumblr. While promoting Gangster Squad, Gosling dropped the bombshell that he maybe, almost could’ve been a member of the boy band had he been a little more bullish about their potential. You see, he used to live in the same building as A.J. McLean (the bearded, dangerous one) when the group was being put together. In his own words:
They were just forming that band, so he was saying how big they were going to be — and he had a poster of them in his house. We were like, it’s never going to happen. Didn’t they already do that with New Kids? You’re a little late. Cut to … I was wrong.
Oh, what might have been. The path toward critically-acclaimed muscles might’ve been a little harder to achieve coming from the backdrop of coordinating ’90s outfits, but it happened for Justin Timberlake. Maybe we would’ve seen a rivalry in the attempt to be taken seriously that would’ve become one of the greatest Vanity Fair articles ever. Or maybe Gosling would’ve gotten to sing “SexyBack”? We just don’t know, you know? But we can dream about it, and certainly write slash fanfiction about it. “I’ve wanted this ever since we had that dance-off at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards,” Justin whispered as he dragged his knuckles across Ryan’s back. “I wanted it that way, too,” Ryan responded. (kills self)