I love Ryan Reynolds. Not in an “I want him to writhe over me” way but in a “I like how he rolls” kind of way. He’s centered, talented, and able to play both quirky and funny characters but also pull off physical roles and drama seemingly effortlessly. I don’t think he’s even come close to having his signature role or film yet, which means that as long as he balances the commercial and indie stuff as he has been we’ll see that sooner than later.
I had a chance to speak with the gentleman as he did the rounds for Definitely Maybe, a film opening this weekend that is surprisingly not the kind of chick flick that makes me want to feed my dick to bobcats.
Ryan Reynolds: Hey Nick. How are ya?
Nick Nunziata: Better now!
Ryan Reynolds: I know your website really well.
Nick Nunziata: My condolences.
Ryan Reynolds: CHUD. Cinematic Happening Under Development. That’s somewhat right ?
Nick Nunziata: Perfect. It’s funny. You’re one of those guys. Whenever a genre project comes up that gets the fanboys excited, you’re one of those names that always comes up in the dream casting as one of the “go to” guys.
Ryan Reynolds: I hope I can make them happy with something one of these days.
Nick Nunziata: Don’t you have an affinity for the Flash?
Ryan Reynolds: I do! I have an affinity for Flash if it’s done the right way.
Nick Nunziata: The right way? Doesn’t that go against Hollywood Logic?
Ryan Reynolds: Yeah it certainly does. That might be a long shot hoping for that. We’ll see.
Nick Nunziata: It never hurts to dream.
Ryan Reynolds: You’re exactly right.
Nick Nunziata: When you have guys like Jon Favreau and Guillermo del Toro doing what they’re doing with comic properties there’s hope for us all.
Ryan Reynolds: No I agree, man. I love Favreau. I think he’s a fantastic writer, actor, and director. He’s a pretty great guy.
Nick Nunziata: Did you see the new Iron Man spot?
Ryan Reynolds: I haven’t seen the new Iron Man spot. I actually don’t like to see the spots. I don’t need to be any more psyched. I’ll be there no matter what. I like going into it knowing nothing.
Nick Nunziata: Then sites like mine are the evil elixir, then.
Ryan Reynolds: But you guys have such nice, shiny headlines on that green page of yours so I don’t have to worry about it.
Nick Nunziata: I’m a little pissed off. Because I’m not supposed to enjoy a movie like Definitely, Maybe. It’s supposed to go against everything I stand for.
Ryan Reynolds: Yeah. Exactly. Well it’s not a traditional romantic comedy in which you feel like a sucker walking in because you already know who the person is going to wind up with. It certainly has a level of unpredictability and that’s the reason I wanted to do it.
Nick Nunziata: It must have been difficult to work with three hideous women.
Ryan Reynolds: Yes, exactly. Truly. They were just… three horse hoofs covered in skin weren’t they? They were just awful looking.
Nick Nunziata: You’ve pretty much done the gamut now. You came out swinging with the comedy. Then some of the action stuff and now this is something that will find new people who aren’t maybe as familiar with your work. What’s exciting you right now?
Ryan Reynolds: That’s such a difficult question to answer. For the most part I’m just looking for great scripts and hopefully I can execute it in a way that works and appeals to people. I’m not the guy that really plans ahead in the way that some people do. It’s Hollywood. It’s up and down and all around. It’s the most Mercurial industry on Earth. I don’t really have a tremendous amount of expectation for anything. I just try pick a project and do the best I can on it. I have a real shitty time trying to pick something further down the road because by that point things have changed and I’m not that much into it. It’s always been a difficult process and I have no encapsulated sound byte to say that this is where I am right now. I don’t really think about it.
Nick Nunziata: You’re a father here, which is something that sometimes is unconvincing onscreen. It’s so easy to get caught up in the syrup and schmaltz. Keeping it from being gooey, how much of that was built between you and Breslin and how much was in the material?
Ryan Reynolds: I think when it feels gooey and forced it’s just that. Forced. Going into it, someone gave me great advice. “Whatever the dynamic is between you two is, put that onscreen”. Honestly, when I first met her I didn’t care what that dynamic was, even if was that she really absolutely loathed me. I was going to put that onscreen with her. I think that’s what kept it from being schmaltzy. We really did genuinely fall in love with each other. She’s really an amazing kid. I can’t believe she’s a child actor. I can’t believe that her psyche is intact in the way that it is after being in this industry as long as she has in her short life. What you see is what you get. That was us, that was the way we were with each other onscreen and off.
Nick Nunziata: One of those guys that just brightens my day when I see him is Kevin Kline. He’s so perfect to play these kind of supporting roles, but he disappears. He’s all over the map in what he’s able to do and it’s great to see him lend himself to a film like this where it would have been so easy to drop in a generic face into the role.
Ryan Reynolds: Kevin is an interesting guy to me because there are certain actors that become movie stars and then there’s movie stars who are actors. It’s a tough thing. Kevin is a true actor. The movie star part is a secondary thing. It’s just a byproduct of what he does. For some people it’s the other way around. I certainly don’t respond to that as much as I do with Kevin’s style. He’s a guy who is just as happy on a stage in New York as he is on a film set. Happier on a stage probably. He’s just one of those rare individuals that i think it was a coup we were able to get him for that short amount of time we had him for the film. He’s just electric. Every single take that guy does is completely different from the last and as actor working with that, it’s just so exciting to go to work with him each day.
Nick Nunziata: I think you’re also of the right age like myself where you were influenced by his wife Phoebe Cates.
Ryan Reynolds: Yes! I owe her a sincere letter of thanks.
Nick Nunziata: Awesome. You’re working on something with Greg Mottola. There’s definitely a different awareness for his next project in the wake of Superbad. What’s it like working with that guy?
Ryan Reynolds: What I love about Greg is that he’s not afraid to step outside the box. He’s not going to do the same thing he just did. The Daytrippers is obviously completely different from Superbad and Adventureland, the film I worked on with him was no different. He’s like a chameleon in terms of each project and this one was more like a coming of age story. I hate comparing him to anybody, but I’d say that it’s more that Cameron Crowe world than the Superbad world. It’s a deeply personal and autobiographical story of his that is so funny and genuine and moving that I had to be a part of it. I’m not the star of that movie at all. Jesse Eisenberg is the hero in that one and I just wanted to be along for the ride.
Nick Nunziata: That guy is kind of a badass young actor.
Ryan Reynolds: Definitely. He’s an incredible actor. A force, definitely.
Nick Nunziata: We’ve long been Joe Carnahan fans here and I have to admit that I was really surprised with your character in Smokin’ Aces. I totally thought it was going to be Ryan Reynolds, buff as shit and knocking shit around. Kickin’ ass. I was really surprised. It was an atypical situation.
Ryan Reynolds: Well, that was a gnarly movie. I certainly wasn’t there to be the flash in pan. That was a pretty meaty role he wrote. When I first met him I asked if I could be one of the Tremor Brothers and he said “I see you more as Messner”. I thought “what the Hell, really? Messner?” I thought Ray Liotta was playing that role he told me that he was playing Carruthers, the partner. I was like “well count me in if that’s what you see. I’d love to try it out. I hope I don’t let you down.” I don’t think I would take any role that I didn’t think on some level I couldn’t pull off. That was a blast. That movie was like World War Three every day. It was incredible.
Nick Nunziata: I can only imagine that the stuff in between “Action” and “Cut” was just as fun.
Ryan Reynolds: Gonzo. Completely insane. It was so much fun to go to work each day. It was the cameos. Bateman coming in and out. Peter Berg. Affleck doing that awesome little cameo and being such a self-effacing and good natured enough guy to allow himself to be shot dead in the first ten minutes. That’s pretty incredible.
Nick Nunziata: I can totally see you as one of the Tremor Brothers.
Ryan Reynolds: I would have had a ball doing that but when you see the guys do it you’re like “That’s just tight. That’s perfect.” I wouldn’t change a thing with those guys. Pine did such a great job. Kevin Durand. Those are some good actors.
Nick Nunziata: It’s great and I think that kind of stuff is why the film has so much replay value.
Ryan Reynolds: There’s all this weird stuff that Joe Carnahan does. All this weird stuff in the background. He keeps things alive.
Nick Nunziata: You go on the web. You’ve come up in an era where it’s a different world. The audience has an unprecedented amount of access. Have you embraced that or are you not too digital when it comes to the movie business?
Ryan Reynolds: I’m pretty digital when it comes to actual movie business. I’m a fan of movies like anyone, I just happen to be lucky enough to be able to make them. I follow all that stuff. I don’t follow the gossip portion of it all, the odd and voyeuristic stuff that’s just creepy. I definitely check the sites that are dealing with movies and there’s a big part of me that’s a fanboy as well. It’s an easy thing to check out and be entertained. I’m obviously on the inside of Hollywood but there’s a lot of things I don’t know. I learn things from your site and other sites all the time. I check them out and you have cool interviews and interesting people coming in and out of your world.
Nick Nunziata: As we wrap up, can you tell me what films blew you away last year?
Ryan Reynolds: Definitely Gone Baby Gone. What a surprise. The performances were phenomenal. Ben did a great job. I love No Country for Old Men. La Vie En Rose, I don’t know if you saw that.
Nick Nunziata: I love it. If she doesn’t win Best Actress I’m going to punch someone.
Ryan Reynolds: Yes! Me too! Exactly. I met her a few weeks ago and holy shit. The girl’s like thirty-one years old. You just never know.
Nick Nunziata: You were expecting to bump into Edith herself?
Ryan Reynolds: Yeah. I was expecting Edith. It was unbelievable. What else did I recently see that I really loved? I saw Pan’s Labyrinth for the first time. I know that’s not last year. That was amazing.
Nick Nunziata: Hey, you’re pushing the right buttons.
Ryan Reynolds: Good!
Nick Nunziata: And No Country is now one of those barometers for me. I ask someone what they thought of it and it influences our lives together.
Ryan Reynolds: Like a first date make or break question.
Nick Nunziata: It used to be Evil Dead 2.
Ryan Reynolds: Well, you gotta love the Campbell.