Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds is set to enjoy his biggest year to date with star turns in ensemble comedy Adventureland, comic-book blockbuster Wolverine and romantic comedy The Proposal. He has already shone in the likes of Just Friends; Definitely, Maybe; and the remake of the horror movie The Amityville Horror. He also led crime actioner Smokin’ Aces. He is married to actress Scarlett Johansson and, in person, is both smart and funny. In Adventureland he plays Mike Connell, a technician at a theme park, who’s having an affair with a much younger girl (Kristen Stewart’s Em Lewin)…
MovieMaker (MM): Was it difficult to make such a roguish character so charming?
Ryan Reynolds (RR): Why thank you very much. It wasn’t my goal to make him that likeable, so I failed you! Again. (laughs) Yeah, it was fun. I liked that there are no real villains or heroes in this movie. I feel like it’s a lot like life, you know; people have complexities and they have their heroic moments and their villainous moments. I will say that with this cast I’ve never felt so old. (laughs) It was a routine of humility. Obviously this guy is having a pretty inappropriate relationship with this very, very young girl, but the spirit on the set, it really felt like where I was eight or nine years ago. It was like a pretty cool place to be each day.
MM: What did you make of Twilight star Kristen Stewart, your co-star on Adventureland?
RR: Kristen is great. She’s really great. Obviously life has changed for her in a pretty drastic way since then. So it was kind of cool to see her talking about this thing called Twilight she might do!
MM: Adventureland is a very personal film for Greg Mottola and he’s based a lot of the characters on people that he knew. Did he say that you were based on a particular person?
RR: I don’t think so. You know, that probably would have been a smart thing for me to ask him! But I don’t know. He and I had about four different meetings before I jumped in there, because I didn’t have a lot of trust—I didn’t really know Greg that well other than seeing SuperBad, and I just thought, ‘Is this guy going to just be your stereotypical douche or is he going to be a guy that’s actually got some depth to him or another side to him?’
And then, when you hang out with Greg a little bit longer, you realize that all these specifics are in the script for a reason, because this is a guy that actually lived this life and that’s what I love about Adventureland. He’s really created a world you know, where there are such specific instances happening and specific characters that you think ‘Wow, there is no way that someone just made this up; this has actually happened’. It was a great experience. Greg has poured his heart and soul into it in every way.
MM: What specifics about your character helped you the most?
RR: For me it was just his unabashed fantasy life that my character was leading, this idea that he’s so much more than he actually is. He has this inability to accept where he is in his life, and that’s something that I feel really heartbreaking. I found it touching in a strange way, that this guy is so disappointed with how things turned out for himself that he’s chosen to really try to be the biggest fish in the smallest pond he could possibly find. And that’s what that represented for him. To me, that was reason enough to jump in there and do it.
MM: What are the different considerations that go into shooting an ensemble-supporting role, like in Adventureland, versus what you’re going to do in the film Paper Man?
RR: I don’t know. I don’t usually think of it like that. I’ve always loved character work. When I was younger, I considered myself a character actor, but I didn’t get those parts a lot of the time. When they come along in a movie like Adventureland, I try to jump at them usually, if it’s a good film. That’s just it though, I mean if it’s a good movie, I don’t really care if I’m a big role or a small role.
MM: Are you still auditioning or are people hiring you based on the fact that they want Ryan Reynolds in their film?
RR: Truthfully, I haven’t auditioned in a long, long time, but it’s never outside the realm of possibility. I mean if you want a film and they don’t want you, sometimes you have to go fight for it. Sometimes that ends up just being a meeting really, just sitting down with them and just saying here is my vision for it and here is why I really love it. But for the most part, I think filmmakers gravitate toward people that are excited—as excited as they are about the film and as passionate about it. So sometimes going after it isn’t so much a function of auditioning as it is just sitting down with the filmmaker.
Adventureland is available on Blu-ray & DVD August 25th!