Acclaimed actor Ryan Gosling has explained why he quit the movie adaptation of The Lovely Bones just days before shooting was due to begin.

The Half Nelson star left Peter Jackson's film of Alice Sebold's bestselling novel last week, with Mark Wahlberg stepping in.

Gosling was to star as Jack Salmon, the father of murdered 14-year-old Susie (to be played by Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan), who watches her family from heaven in the years after her death.

However despite growing a lustrous beard and putting on 20 pounds to play the part, 26-year-old Gosling had always seemed too young for the role.

Though rumours circulated of a prima donna attitude or excessive weight gain causing Gosling's exit, he spoke to to clear up the confusion.

"I think people are making it a far more interesting story than it actually is," he said. "The age of the character versus my real age was always a concern of mine. Peter and I tried to make it work and ultimately it just didn't.

"I think the film is much better off with Mark Walhberg in that role.

"Peter Jackson is an incredible filmmaker and I'm here to tell you that he has things up his sleeve that are going to blow peoples' minds."

The actor continued: "I'm going to be the first person in line to buy tickets... The media always slant things in a negative direction. If somebody said I was easy to work with, they'd make that sound bad too."

Production on the movie has recently begun in Pennsylvania.

30/10/2007 11:55:02