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Smokin' Aces - Ryan Reynolds interview

Ryan Reynolds in Smokin' Aces

Compiled by Jack Foley

RYAN Reynolds talks about playing it straight and turning to action in Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces.

Q: When you watch Smokin’ Aces it’s non-stop action. Did that come across in the script when you first read it?
A. Yes, it did. It really felt like an animal to me. What I loved about the script was the fac that it was different. Joe Carnahan paid a lot of attention to the character. Every character was distinct and had a personality and for a writer to get into the minds of so many characters was impressive to me.

Q: What was it like going head-to-head in intense scenes with two great actors, Ray Liotta and Andy Garcia? It might scare some young actors.
A. Yeah, you always have a moment of that – but you get over it. Ray [Liotta] was easy because we established a dynamic early on. I’ve learned you can’t force a dynamic. When you try to force it, that’s when people say: “They had no chemistry.” I just loved working with Ray. He’s the meanest man you’ll ever love. [Laughs.]

Andy [Garcia] brings such a weight to everything he does because he’s such a fine actor. We tried to rehearse one key scene, I won’t give it away, but it was awful. So, we decided we just needed to do it. You just have to unleash a couple of dogs and let them go out and fight and that’s what we did.

Q: Writer-director Joe Carnahan is one of Hollywood’s young, exciting directors. How was working with him?
A. Joe is so unorthodox in the way he works. Some days he would say: “I don’t feel like doing the script today. Here’s your objective, throw in a bit of this and do that.” It’s exciting, but terrifying at the same time.

Q: How were you with handling a gun? It looks like you knew what you’re doing?
A. Well, being Canadian, we’re born allergic to guns so I had to get pretty good. I spent two months with a gentleman who works with the British Special Forces.

The back story for my character is he was also a weapons expert, so I had to get to a skill level where I more or less had to perform magic tricks with the gun. We were shooting blanks obviously, but Joe would have dummy rounds put in my gun that would jam. So, he wanted to see me clear my gun and never miss a beat. That’s what an FBI agent would have to do if he was in a real life situation. You would have to clear it and keep going, but it adds a depth and reality to the scene.

I had to operate the gun when my heart rate was at 145 beats a minute and be smooth and calm with my hands. That’s the talent the experts have.

Q: You said you did the weapons training, but did you go and meet with FBI agents as well to add some depth to your character?
A. Yeah, I did. I spent a couple of weeks with some FBI guys and hung with them. I read all of their handbooks and what was interesting was that everything we did in the film violated the FBI’s top 10 protocols. That really helped me with my character because it reinforced the dilemma he faces in the film. What is the right or wrong thing for an FBI agent to do? Blind bureaucracy over human life? It was exciting for me because roles like this don’t come often.

Q: The film is intense but what was it like on set when the cameras weren’t rolling? I could imagine there would have been some fun with guys like Jeremy Piven and Ben Affleck on set?
A. Oh yeah. It was such an eclectic cast with big personalities. They were insane. Every day was an adventure. You never knew what you were getting when you walked on set each day. What was interesting, which I had never experienced before with an ensemble this big, was other actors would turn up on set to watch scenes even when they weren’t shooting that day. I did too. I showed up to see some of Common’s scenes and checked out Jeremy. It felt like a real motley family.

Q: What’s next for you?
A. I have three movies coming out. A movie at Sundance called The Nines that John August wrote and directed. He did Go and Big Fish. I also just finished a movie called Definitely, Maybe and another film, a comedy, called Chaos Theory. So 2007 will be an exciting year.

Read our review of Smokin’ Aces

Read our interview with Joe Carnahan