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ARCHIVE - ENTERTAINMENT INTERVIEWS
'Waiting' is Over for Ryan Reynolds
10/7/2005
Posted by
Collider Staff
     

Posted by Mr. Beaks

 

 

Ever since his impressive turn in the less than impressive Van Wilder (the worst comedy to spawn a cult since The Sluggerís Wife), Iíve figured Ryan Reynolds would be a movie star in fairly short order.  Three years later, Iím still waiting.

 

Speaking of Waiting, thatís the latest comedy in which the effortlessly glib (or is that flip?) actor will make a bid for movie star status, and, given the universality of its premise and milieu Ė itís all about the indignities of the service industry Ė it just might do the trick.  To Reynoldsís credit, he easily dominates the film despite being challenged by a very talented cast which includes Anna Faris, Dave Koechner, Luis Guzman, Justin Long, Alanna Ubach, Dane Cook, Justin Long and Chi McBride.  In other words, Reynolds works a minor miracle.

 

When I participated in a roundtable interview with Reynolds last week, he was his usual charismatic self, though there seemed to be a tinge of restlessness from the outset, which quickly resulted in some very interesting remarks about this film and his career.  The way his eyes lit up when discussing Joe Carnahanís forthcoming Smokiní Aces was telling (and reassuring, since Iíve been waiting for a follow-up to Narc for entirely too long).

 

So, hereís all the Reynolds you can handle.  If you need moreÖ well, youíve got Waiting opening in theaters all over creation today.


 

 

So, have you done time in the service industry?

 

Oh, yeah.  I was a busboy for about a year-and-a-half or so in Vancouver.  Worked two jobs:  one at a yacht club serving overprivileged kids D-grade beef, and at a little nightclub-type place, which was hell basically. 

 

Are those places still there?

 

Yeah, theyíre both still there. 

 

Do they have your autographed picture on the wall?

 

Not anymore.  (Laughter)  Not after this movie.  Theyíll be removing that.

 

So, serving these overprivileged kids, any desire to lash back like the cooks do in this movie?

 

Oh, god, yeah.  Those desires definitely surfaced, but I didnít act on them.  No, definitely not.  God, I donít even remember what they do to the food in this movie, itís been so frigginí long.  I signed on to this thing in 2001, so I canít ever remember.  But I know they do some terrible things if memory serves.

 

Did you do this after The Amityville Horror?

 

It was way before this.  I read the script in 2001 and signed on to this before even Van Wilder, if youíre familiar with that.

 

Wow.

 

Yeah.  This was a holdover.

 

Why did it take so long to get out?

 

I didnít shoot it back then.  I signed on to do it.  I shot it about two years ago, and that even took a long time.  This whole thingÖ Iím convinced [the movie] is not even coming out.  It seems like an exercise in futility.  Itís a little odd when you do something way back in the day.

 

This is actually an episode of Punkíd.

 

Yeah, Iím sure of it.  Iím sure Iím going to wake up in a cold sweat in a minute with Ashton Moore-Kutcher.  (Laughter)

 

Was it designed to be a run of Ryan Reynolds comedies, and just came out too late?

 

Yeah, it was really in line with where I was back then.  I mean, all I wanted to do back then was be politically incorrect.  That was kind of it.  My own private little rage against the machine, I suppose.  Itís one of those things.  Hollywoodís funny that way; things move at different paces.

 

But youíre good at that, and people really enjoy seeing you in these kinds of things.

 

Hey, thereís nothing better in this world than just a well-timed politically incorrect zinger, but, you know, itís always a bit of a negotiation when itís not timed the way you think it is, you know?  In my scheme of things, this came out, and then I did Van Wilder, and then I wouldíve done everything else I did.  So, itís just sort of the other way around.

 

How much have you changed since then?

Itís like if you see a snapshot of yourself five years ago, you go, ďWow, I was in such a different place back then!Ē  We all evolve so rapidly, sometimes that can even happen with a two-week thing.  Nothing captures a moment in time better than film.  This [film] I feel has been with me since 2001, and I mean it with the most respect I can possibly give to it, but itís good to finally get it out there and be like, ďGood, itís done.Ē 

 

Do you feel like more of a grown-up now?

 

Oh, god.  Who knows?  Iíll probably be playing a sock puppet in my next thing.  (Laughter)  I definitely have different aspirations now; I certainly enjoy stretching a little bit more.  This movie, to be totally frank, was not a stretch for me Ė something well within my wheelhouse.  And it was a quick shoot Ė four weeks total Ė on a million dollar budget.

 

Did Rob [McKittrick] write the role specifically for you?

 

No, he didnít at all.  He was really specific about the whole movie.  This was a real vision that he had for a restaurant, an accounting of his experiences in a restaurant.  He was actually shockingly specific about what he wanted, so I really have to heap all of the praise and/or blame onto him for everything.  He was very specific in exactly what he wanted, and I feel like he got exactly what he wanted.

 

How picky are you with comedies?  Are you pickier now than you were five years ago?

 

Yeah, definitely.  Absolutely.  I want to do things that Iím going to stretch at.  I want to do things that scare me a little bit.  I feel like Iím taking a little bit more preparation in my roles these days than I would before for other things.

 

Did you have to fight to get [The Amityville Horror] role? 

 

For sure.  I fought for that role only because they thought, ďOh, he doesnít do stuff like this.Ē  I fought for the role Iím shooting right now.  Anytime youíre doing something that they donít expect that you can do, or is definitely outside of whatever theyíve seen before, you feel like youíre in Mississippi and itís the ďShow-Me StateĒ all of a sudden (Beaks note:  oops).  Youíve got to go in there and show them, and I donít mind doing that.  The worst that can happen is I donít get it, or I fail at it, or itís just one meeting.

 

What are you doing right now?

 

I donít know if you know a movie called Narc.  Itís [director] Joe Carnahan; this is his follow up to that.  Itís called Smokiní Aces.  Itís just a great, amazing script.  An amazing cast.

 

Who do you play?

 

Itís basically about a guy named Aces who is a sort of Vegas showman guy.  He gets in league with the mob and he ends up sort of turning witness protection Ė or about to Ė and these five different assassins are coming for him.  And Iím alone with him trying to protect him from these five guys.

 

And this starts shootingÖ?

 

It starts shooting right around mid-October.

 

So youíve been working with Carnahan?

 

Yeah.

 

Heís pretty intense.

 

Heís intense.  I love him, though.  This whole project has been such a process of awakening for me.  Itís incredible to work with guys like that.  I love guys who have such a clear vision that if you get in the way you end up looking like a speed bump.  I love him.

 

Heís kind of pent-up.  Itís been a while since Narc.

 

Yeah, heís pent-up, and I think heís ready to unleash some serious havoc onto the world.  [The script] has some of the best dialogue I think Iíve ever heard or that Iíve ever read. 

 

Did you have to prepare for your role?

 

Lots of preparation.  A lot of weapons stuff, and a lot ofÖ Iím meeting with these three different FBI agents every other day, and I just spend the afternoons with them.  It sounds trivial, but I really create a backstory of the character from first grade through to the present.  It takes days and days and days.  Iíve actually only got him up to ten years-old right now, so it takes a long time to do it.  Then, when youíre doing the film, the joy of that is that you can see it in the characters eyes.  You may never address anything youíve created in terms of backstory, but you just kind of see that depth in the eyes, so if something does go off-script or off-book Iím ready for it.  I feel like I know who this character is through and through.

 

Is drama more challenging for you than comedy?

 

Much more challenging, yeah.  Thereís just so many more possibilities.  To me, in comedy, I kind of know what the timing is.  Itís a lot of suspension of disbelief; itís a lot of everything.  With drama, I just feel like you owe it to the audience to be a bit more layered with it.  I hope.  This is different for me, too.  Iím prepared to just put my trust in Joe and let him steer the ship.

 

Is there anything for buddy banter, or anything lighter?

 

I would say that, tonally, itís True Romance.  And True Romance had some funny moments to me.  It was sort of very darkly comedic at times.  Iíd say itís that in tone.

 

Have you ever found that your character sticks with you once youíre done shooting?

 

Amityville Horror was a little bit of that only because that guy was kind of rageful.  A lot of people donít put a lot of preparation into things like horror movies, I suppose, but I did.  And I was really proud of the work I did with the character.  I donít direct or edit the movies, but I thought they did what they determined to be a really successful movie, and it did really well.  But I love that character, and it stayed with me a bit.  I found myself snapping a little bit, being a little bit rageful after I walked off that set for the first few weeks or so, and had to calm down a little bit.

 

Are you going to do more comedies like [Waiting] in the future, or are you past that?

 

No.  If itís something different, Iíll do anything.  I donít care if itís sophomoric or whatever.  Iím a huge fan of Wedding Crashers and The 40 Year-Old Virgin Ė these kinds of movies that are harkening back to that ďRated-RĒ kind ofÖ Stripes.  That stuff.  I love that.  I would do that until the day I die.  But to continue to venture into anything derivative of stuff Iíve done Ė the Van Wilder kind of stuff Ė no, probably not.  Iím talking about doing a movie called Horrible Bosses right now, which is a ďRated-RĒ comedy with Frank Oz which Iím excited about.  Itís sort of like Strangers on a Train:  three friends that decide to kill each otherís boss, which I think is a genius idea. 

 

Do you know who you might be teamed with?

 

Theyíre talking to Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He really likes it.  Heís like me; weíve both said, ďWeíll play any roleĒ.  I donít know who the third guy will be.

 

Are you still doing a movie with The Rock?

 

Yeah, weíre still trying to figure that out.  Itís just scheduling issues. 

 

Which one would that be?

 

I donít know.  (Laughs)  We have a couple options; itís just a matter of which one gets to the table first.  One of them is a little bit closer to some stories from my childhood with my brothers.  My brothers are cops, and my dad is a cop; thereís a lot of that law enforcement in my family.  And nepotism within law enforcement.  One project kind of mirrors it through that, and Iíve been creating it with Sheldon Turner.

 

Your brothers are all cops?

 

Yeah.

 

And youíre the youngest one?

 

Yeah.

 

Did you ever get caught for doing anything wrong where they brought you back to your dad?

 

My brother once cuffed me to the sink for eating his leftover pizza.  But no.  Itís not like I drive through a speed trap singing, ďMotherfuck the law!  Iím immune to the pitfalls of addiction!  Catch me pig!Ē  My brother would be the first guy to give me a ticket.  Because heís a fucker.  (Laughter)  But thatís what brothers do.  I remember I was with my brother on a traffic stop, and this guy was just speeding or something.  The guy asked for a warning, and my brother just goes, ďOkayÖ warning, here comes your ticket  I wouldnít expect him to let me off if he caught me.

 

Are there any Mounties in your family?

 

Yeah.  Those are them.  My dad and my brothers.

 

Itís a very tough life.  Iíve heard itís very rough on the family.

 

I can imagine.  Itís probably pretty hard on them.  My brothers are all married, and my dad, of course, has been married to my mom for forty-one years Ė I assume heís my father.  But thatís a tough racket for any of those guys.  Youíre going out into the world and seeing things you canít possibly express or share to your partner Ė your partner being your spouse; I donít mean the partner being the one in the car with you. 

 

Youíve been acting for years now.  When they see you on T.V., does it still surprise them that you went down a different path?

 

Yeah, I think Iím their favorite daughter.  (Laughter)  When you come from a family of roughnecks like that, what I do is probably not their idea of a living necessarily.  But, no, theyíre really proud of me, and they share in it with me as much as they can.  And I share in their lives.  Iím as interested in what my brother did during the day as he is what I did.

 

The question about your career is surprising.  Do you see this as a business?  How does it work in you mind?

 

I think itís an integration of the two.  I mean, itís a business.  I certainly enjoy the commerce aspect of it as well; itís fascinating.  Iíd be lying if I didnít say that that intrigued me.  And then thereís the art.  I mean, you canít have one without the other:  this is definitely ďShow BusinessĒ.  But it is something you think about; itís something you plan.  About two years ago, I sat down with my agent and said, ďIíd just love to do something from every genre if we can.  If itís good enough, and we can find itĒ.  And we did.  I did Blade [Trinity], The Amityville Horror, a romantic comedy and then another straight comedy.  You try to do that as much as you can.

 

Do you live here now?

 

I live both places.  I live in Vancouver and L.A.

 

You said you were working with Sheldon Turner on a screenplay.  How did you hook up with him?  Heís kind of become a hot screenwriter.

 

Yeah.  Well, he did a lot of work on Amityville, and we spurred a friendship that way.  I just think heís a really talented guy, and he and I just have a really good chemistry.  Half of it is just chemistry.  You make each other laugh.  And half of the things I do you inevitably write on anyway.  So, itís nice to get in on the ground level.

 

Would this be a co-writing deal?

 

No.  Iím not writing more or less than I would on anything else.  But, like, he comes up with great lines, Iím not going to give him a co-acting credit.  Itís the sum of all its parts.  It always is.  And I donít need the trophy of the writing credit. 

 

What does Just Friends let you do that you havenít done yet?

 

Well, itís just a real romantic comedy.  I havenít really ever done anything like that before.  Van Wilder is a straight comedy; thereís always a bit of a love interest, but itís pretty cavalier in those kinds of movies.  So, no, it was fun.  I got to play two roles:  I got to play myself at seventeen, and myself at twenty-seven.  Innumerable things that I hadnít done before.  Just to really play the underdog.  It was kind of hard to find that; at least, for me.  This guy I just felt was set up right from the beginning to be the underdog, and youíre just kind of rooting for him.  I liked that about it.

 

So, this one doesnít always have the right thing to say?

 

Oh, god, no!  In fact, just the opposite, he never has the right thing to say.  Heís just that guy whoís trying to be suave and failing at it miserably. 

 

How much tip do you leave at restaurants?

 

Twenty percent.  Always.  Every time.  Minimum twenty percent.  Youíve got to take care of your server.

 

 

Waiting opens nationwide today.  Um, bon appťtit.  And if you want some Waiting swag, enter this here contest!