Definitely, Maybe: Ryan Reynolds Interview
We managed to corner Canada's finest in Ryan Reynolds, to chat about new romantic comedy Definitely Maybe. Reynolds stars as Manhattan dad Will alongside on screen beauties Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz. Will retells his past to his daughter Maya [Abigail Breslin] as a idealistic young man learning the ins and outs of big city politics, and recounts the history of his romantic relationships with these three very different women. Maya helps him to understand that it's definitely never too late to go back...and maybe even possible to find a happy ending. Find out why this rom-com makes Ryan tick and how Julia Roberts is his new mother...
LOVEFiLM: You open the film by saying, "There's a perfect song for everyday" What would you say your song for today was?
Ryan Reynolds: The Long and Winding Road! I have different songs for different days. I don't think anyone has ever really tackled the subject of crippling jetlag with harmony. If I had a singular musical bone in my body I'd find a way.
LF: What was attractive about this role - could you relate to the character of Will?
RR: For me, it was reading the script. With most romantic comedies you read it's painfully obvious what's going to happen within the first three pages. I had no idea what was going to happen until the last three pages of this script. I had pins and needles and was absolutely riveted, so certainly for a romantic comedy it was the most unusual thing I'd ever read.
LF: Are you a fan of romantic comedies in general?
RR: Not usually. I wouldn't say the genre is my first choice; I just try to find something that appeals to me. I guess that's the reason I wanted to do this, because it felt so unpredictable to me. I think the problem I have with some of them is that they are very predictable. We know who is going to end up with who it's just how we get there, but I really liked About a Boy. I love that movie, I really do.
LF: Was this you're first script that sees you playing a Dad?
RR: No actually, it was my second. A movie I did called The Nines was my first. The real trick for this film was, I'm the exact right age, because the character has to go 8 years either side of 30, so I have to do a 16 year story. I have to believable at 38 and at 22, so naturally the film went in the middle of that.
LF: Did you have a good chemistry with your on screen daughter Maya [Abigail Breslin]?
RR: Yeah I love that little girl, she's great. We went out for drinks and got to know each other; she's an unusual kid, in as much as she's fine with being a kid. That's unusual in Hollywood in particular, so I think that's what makes it so special on screen.
I didn't try and make our dynamic be anything in particular; I just invested in putting whatever our dynamic was on screen, even if she hated me. I think unless it's authentic, it's going to be bullshit - no one's going to buy it.
LF: Did you feel you changed a lot when you moved from Vancouver to LA, and if so how?
RR: In a way I had a similar journey to Will, in the sense I was pretty wide-eyed and naive when I moved to Los Angeles. That changed rather quickly when my car was stolen within the first hour. I'd parked after this 26 hour harrowing journey straight from Canada. I unpacked my bags and brought them into this seedy hotel - came back and my jeep was gone. For the first three hours I thought it was my friend, I thought he'd done this elaborate joke. But no, my car was three blocks away when I found it. It had no doors or stereo - speakers, but it still operated all right.
LF: So you drove around LA in a car with no doors?
RR: Pretty much, it was like a shitty convertible. It was the middle of el Niņo too and it was pouring with rain all the time and I would be going to these auditions and a small tsunami would blow through the car on the way over. I'd show up to the audition trying to hide my soaking wet torso; it was awful and cold too.
LF: Have you ever been at the bottom of the ladder like your character Will?
RR: Yeah, I used to work in a restaurant in Vancouver, which was absolutely rancid. It was unbelievable; the owners of this restaurant were absolute messes. In retrospect it was probably the perfect training ground to go to Hollywood, but it was pretty awful. I was the lowest nail in the totem pole, which doesn't say much in a place like that.
LF: What was the worst thing about turning up for work there?
RR: Wondering where the boss would park - whether it would be in the restaurant today or outside of the restaurant where his car belongs. It was pretty crazy. The unpredictability of that place was what scared me - it was awful.
LF: You do your own version of the Midnight Cowboy strip scene in the film; what was that like?
RR: It was one of those epic moments. It was weird shooting that stuff; it was almost like guerilla film making. We were just wandering around the streets of New York with almost no crew. The trick was finding people that wouldn't look at me so a lot of the time I was just trying to get the hell through it really fast; we kept moving.
LF: The last twelve months have seen you in Smokin' Aces, The Nines and now Definitely Maybe, how easy is it to convince people that you can make the transition from comedy?
RR: Hollywood is so strange, the battlefield is sometimes just a meeting, and it's not necessarily an audition. They've seen clips of you so they know you can perform; it's a matter of what your take on the character is. The Nines was a really difficult one for me. I was prepared to threaten the director's children's lives if he didn't put me in that movie. That was one I really fell in love with. It was a humongous challenge; it's probably done more for me than any other movie, albeit it's the least seen.
LF: What do you want to get your teeth into next?
RR: There's a movie I'm obsessed with called Paper Man which I'd love to make. It's about a guy who is going into the woods to write his second mediocre novel, and as he goes out there he realises the real reason he's going is to murder his imaginary childhood friend named Captain Excellent. It's a script by Michelle and Keiran Morawaney, and it's something we're trying to put together with Jeff Daniels in the summer which will be a lot of fun. Not that I'm dying to wear a lavender body sock as I hurtle towards Connecticut, but it's a great script and a really beautifully written piece.
LF: I believe one of your up-and-coming projects casts Julia Roberts as your mother?
RR: Yeah. I was a large baby. The movie is a slightly fractured narrative so she's a lot older in the film, then in flashbacks she's her own age. She is in fact my mother. I tell people that all the time, they're like 'oh you're doing a movie with Julia Roberts - wow you guys make such a cute couple'. I'm like 'no she's my mother!' They just don't quite understand.
LF: Rumour has it that you are still waiting for a script of The Flash to arrive?
RR: That comes up quite a bit. It's a character I would be interested in doing, but it's such a gigantic movie for Warner Brothers to put together. They've got a new director, David Dobkin, he's a tremendous guy who I've met before. I'd be happy to jump in there but in the meantime I don't think it's an active project for them.
LF: When you were a kid did you have the red Flash suit?
RR: No I had the Scooby Doo onesie. I'm still looking for the 6'2" version! Legitimately, I would love that - I'd go everywhere in it.
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