On Ryan Reynolds
The new issue of Hello! Canada features an exclusive interview with Ryan Reynolds in which they call him Mr Scarlett Johansson and are offered the rare opportunity to discuss with Mr Scarlett Johansson life with Scarlett Johansson herself.
With busy working schedules and homes on two coasts (New York City and L.A.), how do you and Scarlett manage to find time for each other?
Well, we’re hosting sleepovers this week, so if you want to come by, we’ll be playing pigs in a blanket this evening. [Smiles] I would say that nothing about my life – and I certainly speak for my wife – has ever been overly conventional, but I think any relationship is about prioritizing and that’s got to be forefront for any couple. There’s been some pretty amazing normalcy [in our
lives], given the circumstances.
These days, who would be the first person you’d call in an emergency? Scarlett?
RegisPhilbin! I don’t know. Who would I call? I think you’ve got to go to the top. I would try to get a hold of the State Department. For an emotional crisis, though, that’s probably not the first person I’d call. Then, I’d call my wife.
When did you know it was the “real thing” between you and Scarlett?
It’s difficult to narrow down something like that. Relationships are so much about being ready for them, then it is just like lightning, you know. When it’s in a magazine or something, it’s easier to just say, “I knew when” … but I’d say it was just timing.
Yes, but I was thinking along the lines of a special moment. Perhaps when you saw her in a tattered bathrobe, or Scarlett
made you a great meal?
OK, I was wearing the tattered bathrobe. I honestly think it was just a case of being ready to meet the person that I was going to marry. I don’t want to overly romanticize it here and now, because it’s probably not the appropriate place. [Smiles]
You worked out a lot for Green Lantern. Does Scarlett prefer you buff or thin?
I think both ways. Both ways are pretty good, but I think she prefers if I could fit through a keyhole, so [that I could] make a diving run for it.
Reynolds of course is currently promoting Buried, opening this weekend to very, very good reviews, currently rating 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, with what some are calling the performance of his career. It’s a career that’s taken a remarkable turn the last 18 months or so. After all, we already knew him from romantic comedies, and now he’s The Green Lantern, and excelling at indie pictures, and he’ll soon be working with Denzel Washington on an action thriller, and Bradley Cooper on a buddy comedy.
It’s the kind of diversity that could release him from that title Mr Scarlett Johansson. And, well, with what appears to be a new attitude, he seems to be trying to earn it.
As I’ve noted a few times in recent months, there’s a Hugh Jackman thing going on with Reynolds that plays in sharp contrast to the behaviour that characterised his earlier exploits: douchey, ungrateful, rude to fans, difficult on set, all of it replaced by the dude who showed up at Comic-Con in July and was able to recite the Green Lantern oath on command for a young boy without skipping a beat...and sincerely.
Some skeptics say it was staged. I’ve been assured by multiple solid sources that it wasn’t, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Reynolds of just two years ago probably wouldn’t have bothered. He used to be above it, it had no value for him, he had no time.
So what’s changed? Well if you read his current interview with GQ – click here - the suggestion is that he was, for a long time, very, very unhappy. There’s a candid passage at the beginning when he discusses his father’s disappointment in his choice of career and later on when he addresses his father’s battle with Parkinson’s that, at least for me, offered a humanising explanation, through those inevitable conflicts that exist in every family, for what the bratty conduct that I’ve covered in the past. Reynolds reveals that he had to deal with his own sh-t. And maybe in doing so, in finding happiness, getting married etc, he was able to modify the assy attitude that has been well documented on my blog.
The question, for us in the audience, is whether or not you buy it. Because yes, he happens to be selling a movie, several movies in succession. Me? Right now I do. For a few reasons.
How do you work with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Jackman, two of the most professional, most courteous, most well liked and kind people in the business without checking yourself? There’s a lot to be said for having mentors. Reynolds has been around forever, which is why it’s easy to forget that he’s younger than you think. Only 33. It’s about time.
And then there’s personal observation. I had the opportunity to interview him twice recently at TIFF. No doubt, he was on his best behaviour, and no doubt, it’s not likely I would have seen him cuss out an assistant for bringing him 2% instead of skim milk. But at the same time, in an environment full of fraud and mirrors, you get used to identifying which ones are simply there to go through the motions. Like Ryan Phillippe. Or Ryan Reynolds could just be a really good actor. Either way, win win.
So what’s he like? Let me get the physical impression out of the way first. He’s hot. Now I’ve met him before, 3 years ago at Sundance, and maybe because it was so f-cking cold but I don’t remember him having the kind of effect he had on me in Toronto. All I know is I was sitting in a junket room at the Intercon, and he walked in with Rodrigo Cortes, the director of Buried, and he was wearing a very well fitted green shirt with his sleeves rolled up and really great skinny khakis and he’s so tall he it’s like he’s everywhere and suddenly, without any control, it’s actually rather basic: would I want him to ask for my number if our carts bumped into each other in the produce aisle? Yes.
There was no foundation either. Just ridiculously nice skin, slightly tanned. And good hair. And then he started talking. And he’s articulate, not in a John Mayer, let me cram as many big important words into a sentence as I can way, but truly articulate, like someone who actually spends time reading and enjoying it for the sake of it. He’s also rather quick, very sharp with a quippy reaction, funny without trying too hard, and believe me, I tried hard to look for something to hate on – squinty close set eyes, a lame drawl, dirty fingernails, nose hairs, vanity, anything. And 20 minutes later, I’m sorry to tell you, there wasn’t much.
So then it was on to the premiere. And I did manage to find something there. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t look as good in a suit as he does in casual clothes. Maybe he’s too tall. Because the pants were bothering me that night. And he looks really anorexic in photos. I don’t know why that is. In person he’s perfectly healthy. In these photos I’m flipping through, he looks positively gaunt.
During our interview though, which happened right after he went to sign autographs and take photos with fans – brownie points! – there wasn’t much to sh-t on either. He told me that “when you can’t find the asshole on set, it’s probably you” and then he compared the experience of having to turn yourself around while trapped in a coffin to what a woman in labour must feel when the baby is “crowning”. Not bad. And then I met his mom.
Believe me, I know how this sounds. And if I could, I would switch my experience with Marion Cotillard, who I adored, and then not as much after TIFF because her brain seems fried (click here for a refresher), to this one with Ryan Reynolds who I’ve always been ambivalent about anyway. If there was anything to trash, like Catherine Keener who was a massive hag on her carpet, the meanest most impatient bitch of the festival, I totally would.
But ... Ryan Reynolds went to school and passed. I’m sorry to disappoint you.
Attached – Reynolds in New York promoting Buried last week and a few from Toronto at various events.
Photos from Doug Meszler/Splashnewsonline.com and Joe Scarnici/Arthur Mola/Gettyimages.com