Canadian-born actor Ryan Gosling has told the Associated Press he plans to take a break from acting and needs time to "reassess" his career.

Gosling, who has been seen in Drive, Gangster Squad, The Ides of March and Crazy, Stupid Love in the past two years believes he is overexposed.

"I've been doing it too much," he said. "I've lost perspective on what I'm doing. I think it's good for me to take a break and reassess why I'm doing it and how I'm doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does."

The actor is also becoming an internet meme, with people posting photos of Gosling with a caption that starts "Hey girl" and then gives some advice in his supposed voice.

Gosling  did not say when that break might come. He will appear in two more films to be released this year, Only God Forgives and The Place Beyond the Pines, a collaboration with director Derek Cianfrance, who helped establish his credibility as an actor with the gritty 2010 film Blue Valentine.

Gosling is also preparing to step into directing with How to Catch a Monster, about a mother trying to find her teenaged son in an underwater fantasy world.

Born in London, Ont., and home-schooled by his mother, he began his career as a child actor at age 12 with the Mickey Mouse Club. He had TV roles on Breaker High, Are You Afraid of the Dark and Young Hercules, before his breakout role in film, The Believer, in in which he played a neo-Nazi teenager.

His heartthrob status began with 2004 romance The Notebook, but Gosling has since stayed away from typical leading man roles, choosing quirky indie vehicles such as Lars and the Real Girl and Half Nelson that displayed the range of his acting skill.

"There's a lot of pressure to be the lead of a film," he said. "I have done it. It's not my favourite way to work."

His The Place Beyond The Pines co-star Ben Mendelsohn says Gosling concentrates on building relationships with fellow actors on the set and that makes a difference to the kind of performance they can give on-screen.

"Ryan, without terribly much trouble, could be the world's most ginormous box-office juggernaut type of thing," says Mendelsohn, who'll co-star in Gosling's soon-to-begin-filming directorial debut. "From what I can gather, his interests are a lot more nuanced."

With files from The Associated Press