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Definitely Maybe - Ryan Reynolds interview

Ryan Reynolds in Definitely Maybe

Interview by Rob Carnevale

RYAN Reynolds talks about appearing in a different kind of romantic comedy in Definitely Maybe, his first taste of Los Angeles in real life and how he’s been able to diversify away from comedy over the past 12 months.

Q. What attracted you to Definitely Maybe in the first place?
Ryan Reynolds: For me, most romantic comedies that you read it’s just painfully obvious within the first three pages what’s going to happen. With this script I had no idea what was going to happen up until the last three pages. I was absolutely riveted. So for a romantic comedy it was certainly the most unusual thing I’d ever read.

Q. You possess a very good chemistry with Abigail Breslin. Did you get much time to build it before shooting began?
Ryan Reynolds: We went out for drinks [laughs], got to know one another… She’s an unusual kid in as much as she’s fine with being a kid – and that, in Hollywood and pretty much anywhere you go in the world, seems to be an unusual saying. But I think that’s what makes her so special on-screen. With her, I didn’t try and make our dynamic be anything in particular. I just was invested in putting on screen whatever our dynamic was – even if she hated me. I think that unless it’s authentic, it’s going to be bullshit and people aren’t going to buy it.

Q. Had you known Isla Fisher before or was it a happy accident that you also enjoy such good chemistry with her?
Ryan Reynolds: Boy, that was a very happy accident! We just hit it off right from the get-go. I’ve always find that Aussies and Vancouver-ites in general just have a similar kind of attitude. So, it was a real match made in heaven and I was really, really happy to have her as a co-star. I had no idea what to expect going in but it just felt like we could sing together. It was great.

Q. Have you ever been the guy that had to make all the coffee and do all the crappy jobs like your character does when he first goes to work in New York?
Ryan Reynolds: Yeah, I used to work at a restaurant in Vancouver that was absolutely rancid. I guess it would be like going to work every day in a Nicaraguan drug pen. It was just unbelievable. In retrospect it was probably like the perfect training ground to go to Hollywood but it was pretty awful and I was the lowest man on the totem pole, which doesn’t say much for a place like that.

Q. One of your girlfriends in the film says to your character at one point that moving to New York has changed you. Do you feel that you’ve changed since moving from Vancouver to America?
Ryan Reynolds: Yeah, I feel in a way like I’ve had a similar journey to Will [my character] in the sense that I was pretty wide-eyed and naive when I moved to Los Angeles. That changed rather quickly when my car was stolen in the first hour! That’s not a joke, either. I’d parked up after this 26-hour harrowing journey from Canada, driving straight, and I’d unpacked my bags, brought them into this seedy hotel, came back out and the car was gone. For the first three hours I wouldn’t stop grilling my friend because I thought it was a joke. I thought he’d done this elaborate joke. But I later found my car three blocks away and there were no doors or stereo to speak of but it still operated alright.

Q. So did you drive around LA in a car with no doors?
Ryan Reynolds: Yeah, pretty much. It was the shitty version of a convertible. It was in the middle of El Nino as well, pouring rain all the time, so I’d be going to these auditions and a small tsunami would blow through the car on the way over. I’d show up for the auditions soaking wet and trying to hide my torso.

Q. The past 12 months have seen you as a cop in Smokin’ Aces, taking on three roles in The Nines and now the romantic lead in Definitely Maybe. How easy was that to achieve? Did people come to you or did you have to chase them pretty hard?
Ryan Reynolds: Well, Hollywood is so strange because a lot of times the battlefield is just a meeting. It’s not necessarily like an audition. They’ve seen clips of you and they know that you can perform and it’s a matter of “what is your take on a character”? The Nines was a really difficult one for me. I was prepared to threaten the director’s children’s lives [laughs] if he didn’t put me in that movie. It was one that I really fell in love with and was a huge challenge to do. It’s probably done more for me than any other movie, albeit that it’s the least seen film that I’ve ever done. This movie was again a meeting but I’d already worked with Working Title on Smokin’ Aces and there was kind of an in there. But meeting Adam Brooks [the writer-director] it was a question of how I saw the character. And I really saw this character as if Jimmy Stewart was still alive, he’d want to play this role. And I feel like that really spoke Adam’s language.

Q. One of your upcoming projects [Fireflies In The Garden] has Julia Roberts as your mother?
Ryan Reynolds: Yes, imagine that! Well, it’s a movie that has a slightly fractured narrative, so she’s a lot older in the film. They age her up and in flashbacks she’s her own age. I tell people that all the time because they’re like: “Wow, you’re doing a film with Julia Roberts! You’re going to make such a cute couple…” And I have to say: “No, she’s my mother.” And they don’t quite understand.

Q. Is there anything that you really want to get your teeth into at the moment?
Ryan Reynolds: There’s a movie that I’m obsessed with called Paper Man, which I’d love to make. It’s about a guy going off into the woods to write his second mediocre novel and as he goes out there we realise that the real reason he’s going is to murder his imaginary childhood friend, named Captain Excellent. It’s a script by Kieran and Michele Mulroney and is something that we’re trying to put together with Jeff Daniels in the summer. It’s a great script and a really beautifully written piece.

Q. Are you still waiting for a script for The Flash to arrive?
Ryan Reynolds: You know, that comes up quite a bit. It’s a character that I would be interested in doing but it’s such a gigantic movie for Warner Bros to put together. But if they put it together in the right way then great. I mean they’ve got a new director, David Dobkin, on it and he’s a tremendous guy. I’ve met him before and I’d be happy to jump in there. But in the meantime it’s just an active project for them.

Q. Did you have the red suit when you were a boy?
Ryan Reynolds: [Laughs] No, I had the Scooby-Doo onesy. I’d go everywhere in it.

Read our review of Definitely Maybe

Read our interview with Rachel Weisz