Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe reveal how they survived near-death encounters with poisonous snakes

By Kara Warner
Updated May 15, 2016 08:25 AM
Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

In their new comedy thriller The Nice Guys, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play a hired enforcer (Crowe) and a struggling private eye (Gosling) who are forced to work together to solve the case of a missing girl and the death of a porn star.

Unsurprisingly, the two characters frequently find themselves in dangerous situations, so when PEOPLE recently sat down with the rugged Crowe, 52 and the Canadian-born heartthrob, 35, we wondered about the most dangerous situations the two actors have experienced in their home countries.

Russell Crowe: I was standing, one leg on either side, of a mature red bellied black snake one day,” recalls Crowe. “I was walking through a paddock with this girl who had been talking to me for 20 minutes about how terrified of snakes she was. I said, ‘I know it’s Australia, but you hardly ever see them’ and I looked down at this snake is rearing up, it’s head is flattened out, it’s a split second from striking. It was the 12 fastest reverse steps I’ve ever taken in my life. One minute I was there, the next minute I wasn’t.”

PEOPLE: Did your friend see it and scream?

Crowe: No. She said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Nothing’ and walked the other way and she followed me. Then later on I said, ‘By the way ‘”

Ryan Gosling: [To Crowe] How did that work out that Australia got everything that can kill you and New Zealand has nothing? There’s no predators in [New Zealand].

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Crowe: Isn’t that weird? They’re physically close, geographically close, but Australia was one of the first land masses above the water and New Zealand is one of the last, so maybe it has something to do with that. New Zealand has no mammals at all.

PEOPLE: And what about experiences with dangerous creatures in Canada?

Gosling: Hmm, I guess maybe a beaver could f— you up if you’re not careful but I never had an experience with that. I think it’s similar in that way to New Zealand. But I moved to Florida when I was 12, and I saw this red snake, I had never really seen a proper snake and I went to pick it up and there was a guy, God bless him, he said, ‘Don’t touch that, that’s a 10-stepper.’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said ‘Well, you’ve got 10 steps and then you die.’ I was right about to grab it. And then he tried to sell me some really great weed.

PEOPLE: And you were 12?

Gosling: Yeah. Florida.

Crowe: The best part of the story though, is he bought it

Gosling: And rode Space Mountain ten times in a row.

Crowe: And then, he swam to Cuba.

The Nice Guys hits theaters May 20.