Ryan Reynolds Interview – ADVENTURELAND

     April 3, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Opening today is writer/director Greg Mottola’s new film “Adventureland”. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Margarita Levieva and Ryan Reynolds and it’s a coming of age story set in 1987.

Here’s the synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1987, and James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), an uptight recent college grad, can’t wait to embark on his dream tour of Europe. But when his parents announce they can no longer subsidize his trip, Jameshas little choice but to take a lowly job at a local amusement park. Forget about German beer, world-famous museums and cute French girls—James’ summer will now be populated by belligerent dads, stuffed pandas, and screaming kids high on cotton candy. Lucky for James, what should have been his worst summer ever turns into quite an adventure as he discovers love in the most unlikely place with his captivating co-worker Emst (Kristen Stewart), and learns to loosen up.

Anyway, to help promote the film, I recently participated in roundtable interviews with most of the cast. While I already posted some of what Ryan Reynolds said about filming “Wolverine”, here’s the entire interview.

Just know this interview was done prior to “Wolverine” leaking on the internet. That’s why we don’t talk about it.

Finally, to watch some movie clips from “Adventureland”, click here. And here’s a link to my exclusive video interview with the star of the film, Jesse Eisenberg. As always, you can either reead the transcript below or listen to the audio of the interview by clicking here.

Again, “Adventureland” is absolutely worth seeing. Want a real review, here’s what Matt had to say.

Question: Was it difficult to make such a roguish character so charming and likable?

Reynolds: Oh, well thank you very much. It wasn’t my goal to make him that likable, but I see I failed you again. It was fun. I like that there are no real villains or heroes in this movie. It’s a lot like life. People have their complexities. They have their heroic moments and their villainous moments, too.

Question: You used to play a lot of younger characters, but you’re kind of on the other side here.

Reynolds: I’ve never felt so old, yeah. Daily. God. It was a routine of humility. It was kind of cool. I like that aspect, too. Obviously, this guy is having a pretty inappropriate relationship with this very, very young girl but the spirit on the set really felt like where I was eight or nine years ago. It’s a pretty cool place to be now.

Question: Have you ever been in a place like some of these characters with a crazy boss?

Reynolds: Yeah. I worked at a restaurant in Vancouver. I shouldn’t name it. It was a restaurant in Kistilano. I was a busboy there, but no one ever really ate there and I think that I was actually working for a Peruvian drug lord or I thought I was. He was this abusive boss that had a fuse that was absolutely minimal at best. I would work there all day and then at night I would work at a grocery store on the graveyard shift, throwing fresh fruit at my coworkers.

Question: Was this during a time that you wanted to act?

Reynolds: Yeah, I did as much as I could in Vancouver. You can only play so many ex-‘Falcon Crest’ sons in so many movies of the week before you burn out. So I was kind of doing that to supplement my happiness, believe it or not.

Question: How was working with Kristen Stewart?

Reynolds: Kristen is great. She’s really great. Obviously, life has changed for her in a pretty drastic way since then so it’s kind of cool to see her talking about this thing called ‘Twilight’ that she might do.

Question: This is a very personal film for Greg Mottola. Did he ever say that this was based on someone that he knew?

Reynolds: I don’t think so. That probably would’ve been a smart thing to ask him, but I don’t know. He and I had about four different meetings before I jumped in there only because at first I wasn’t sure in that I didn’t have a lot of trust. I didn’t really know Greg that well other than seeing ‘Superbad’ and I thought, ‘Is this guy just going to be your stereotypical douche or is he going to be a guy that’s actually got some depth to him, another side to him?’ When you hangout with Greg a little bit longer you realize that all these specifics are in the script for a reason. This is a guy that actually lived this life. That’s what I love about ‘Adventureland’. He’s really created a world where there are such specific instances happening and specific characters that you think, ‘Wow, there is no way that someone made this up. This has actually happened.’ So it was a great experience. Greg has poured his heart and soul into it in every way.

Question: Do you remember those dramas playing out in those jobs that you had,

those interpersonal conflicts?

Reynolds: Oh, yeah. You’d be hard pressed to find more drama in ‘Days of Our Lives’ than you do in an average job each day. Coworkers have a jocular sort of lifestyle going on. Everyone is trying to kind of get ahead or create this job and mold it into their own needs and wants all the time. So, yeah, for sure. Our jobs, my jobs sucked, but at the same time the thing that drew me back to going to work each day and really kind of got me through it were also my coworkers. These are the same people that you have fights and disagreements with. These are also the same people that you rely on and count on to stay the same in a crazy job.

Question: You talked about the specifics in the script. What specific item about your character helped you the most?

Reynolds: For me it was just his unabashed fantasy life that he was leading, this idea that he’s so much more than he actually is and his inability to accept where he is in his life. That’s something that I feel like was really sort of heartbreaking in a way, sort of touching in a strange way. This guy is so disappointed with how things have turned out for himself that he’s chosen to really try to be the biggest fish in the smallest pond that he could possibly find. To me that was the reason to jump in there and do it.

Question: It didn’t go to Sundance this year. Were you disappointed at all by that and were you at Sundance?

Reynolds: No. I wasn’t at Sundance and no, I wasn’t disappointed to not be at Sundance [laughs]. I was happy to be off wherever the hell I was. I working I think, shooting, but I see enough agents in suits. I don’t need them to be in parkas around me all day.

Question: A lot of people say that fans are the ones who go to Sundance, that that’s the audience.

Reynolds: Really? Okay. Cool. Alright. I thought that it was people who just like gifting tents which is the most absurd thing. It’s like, ‘Here’s the free shoes for the Rich Program. Come on in to our tent.’ It’s kind of crazy. For us it’s so different because it’s really kind of a function of event to event to event. I’ve been to Sundance four times. I’ve had three movies there and I have never seen a movie other than my own when I was there. So it’s inevitably pretty frustrating. All these people are buzzing about this amazing film that they just saw and the only chance that you’re going to get to see it is six months down the road when it’s released. So it’s sort of a bummer when you go there, but at the same time I’m glad it exists because it’s given a showcase for so many amazing movies that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen.

Question: Are you still auditioning or are people hiring you based on the work that you’ve done?

Reynolds: I haven’t auditioned in a long, long time but that’s never outside the realm of possibility. If you want a film and they don’t want you sometimes you have to go fight for it. Sometimes that ends up just being a meeting really, sitting down with them and saying, ‘Here’s my vision for it and here’s why I really love it.’ But for the most part I think that filmmakers gravitate towards people who are as excited as they are about the film, that are as passionate about it. That goes a long way. When you have an attitude that’s sort of like, ‘Nah –’ when someone sends you a script, that vibe, it’s like you don’t want to be there and they don’t want you to be there. Sometimes going after it isn’t always a function of auditioning as it is just sitting down with the filmmaker.

Question: You have a pretty big summer movie. Did you go after that part or did they come after you?

Reynolds: Which one. I have two summer movies. ‘Wolverine’ or ‘The Proposal’?

Question: ‘Wolverine’.

Reynolds: Yeah. ‘Wolverine’. That character is something that I’ve sort of been mentioning for a long, long time, the character in the comic book – ‘Deadpool’ – even mentioned me playing him. So I think in some weird way it was a little bit destined. But I love that character. I love that franchise. I love that whole vibe so I was happy to jump in there and do it.

Question: Were you forced to read all the comic books?

Reynolds: I’ve read them before. I read the ‘Deadpool’ series back in the ’90’s. I’m not like a huge comic book reader, per say, though. I’ll check out ‘Archie’ when I’m in the grocery line, but that’s about it.

Question: You have scenes with Hugh Jackman. Can you talk about some of those, any action or fight sequences?

Reynolds: Someone is going to come in here in a minute from ‘Adventureland’ and kick your ass if you keep talking about this. [laughs]

Question: It’s just a big action movie, you know.

Reynolds: Yeah, they’re intense. Movies like this, you have a lot of big personalities in one room and you think, ‘That’s going to be combustible –’ but it was just the opposite. I look at it as an ensemble really. There was a whole schwack of people in there with heavy, heavy storylines that they’re trying to pack into this one movie. It was shockingly chummy set. Everyone was really kind of into what they were doing and because of that it was like this bonding experience, I think, to a certain degree. The action sequences are amazing. I’d never done anything on that scope before. I’ve done a couple of action movies but not like this. So it was pretty wild.

Question: And Hugh seems like a really friendly guy, too.

Reynolds: Oh, my God, he’s the nicest guy on earth. He makes murder look like ice cream. It’s incredible.

Question: I know there was some talk about taking Deadpool out on his own. Has there been any new talks about that?

Reynolds: No. These things work pretty slowly as they go. I’ve had a couple of people approach for meetings about a ‘Deadpool’ movie, but I think it’s absurd to even think that way until this movie comes out and I don’t even look at it like I play Deadpool in that movie. I really think that I’m more or less playing Wade Wilson, obviously and then I’m playing the creature that will eventually become Deadpool. But in this movie it’s sort of his newly formed version.

Question: How does it feel to be replaced by Hugh in the Sexiest Man of the Year category? Did that cause any tension on the set?

Reynolds: [laughs] Yes. It was brought up often. I think Hugh, much like every other one of these sexiest people of the year which just seems like the most absurd crown on earth, most people sort of take it with a grain of salt or a crate of valium. It’s pretty silly stuff.

Question: Did he give you guff about it?

Reynolds: To answer your question, yes he did.

Question: Were you the sexiest man alive while you were working together or him?

Reynolds: He, I think, has always been the sexiest man alive, I think. Lets be honest.

Question: Did you give him shit about it when you got on set?

Reynolds: I’m not gay, but I’m thinking about it.

Question: You also have ‘The Proposal’ this summer. This is a big year for you then, right?

Reynolds: Yeah, it is. It’s definitely a big year for me with this ‘Wolverine’, this movie and ‘The Proposal’ which I love. I got to work with Sandra Bullock who’s been a friend of mine for almost a decade and that was kind of interesting, getting to spend all that time with her. It’s pretty cool. I have no control over release dates and I’ve been shooting for fifteen months straight and maybe I should’ve known that they’d all be stacked up like this. It’s a pretty interesting position to be in.

Question: With three movies coming out, being in the limelight a lot, does that help you as an actor for your next project? Does it give you more momentum being in these high profile films?

Reynolds: It does if they’re all different. I think it doesn’t if they’re all the same. If you have three comedies that are being released in three months, or well first off the studios would be insane to do that, but they’ve done it before with other actors. Secondly, people just burn out on that kind of brand, I think, a little bit. So I’m lucky. I have three different, completely different movies coming out. Each one is in an entirely different genre unto itself.

Question: Is that by choice in a way?

Reynolds: I try to do different genres. I don’t like doing one back to back, doing two comedies in a row or something.

Question: Is that for your sanity or to make sure you don’t have three comedies out at the same time?

Reynolds: No, it’s for me, just for me. I get a little cooked doing the same thing over and over. A lot of people do. The ultimate dream is to be able to do multiple genres and still function properly in those. So I love it. I feel really fortunate that I’m able to go from genre to genre.

Question: So you don’t make those choices based on being pigeonholed?

Reynolds: No, no. Not usually, no. If something pops, or I’ve never had a movie that I was the star that made a billion dollars at the box office. Maybe things change when that happens. Maybe suddenly you’re pushed in that direction a lot more, but in a way I’ve been lucky because of that.

Question: Having worked with Sandra now after knowing her for so long did you learn anything new about her after working together on this particular movie?

Reynolds: I was inasmuch as she has this ability to compress an enormous amount of emotion and information in a single look. I think that’s the magic of her. I used to think it was because she’s the girl next door or she’s America’s sweetheart or any of that crap, but no. It’s the fact that she has this weird and bizarre supernatural gift that I’m deeply envious of and would love to have someday. You’re certainly spending so much time with someone, too. We’ve been friends for a long time, but we haven’t been up in each other’s grill for fifteen hours a day for three months. So thankfully that all worked out well and she didn’t send her three legged dogs on me.

Question: What are the considerations that go into choosing an ensemble piece like ‘Adventureland’ versus doing something where you’re just the leading man?

Reynolds: I don’t know. I don’t usually think of it like that. I’ve always loved character work. When I was younger I considered myself a character actor, but I didn’t get those parts a lot of time. So when they come along in a movie like this I try to jump at them usually if it’s a good film. That’s just it though. If it’s a good movie I don’t really care if it’s a big role or a small role.

Question: Congratulations on recently marrying one of the sexiest women alive. How has marriage changed your life?

Reynolds: You know, I’m probably not going to get into that, but thank you for asking. I’m going to borrow the Americanism and plead the fifth on that.

Question: This movie is set in the ’80’s. You’re a child of the ’80’s. Did you have any favorite movies or music or TV shows from the ’80’s?

Reynolds: Yeah, for me I loved ‘Say Anything’. That was a huge movie for me when I was a kid. I think for a lot of guys my age it was. You always have that moment with a ghetto blaster over your head, blasting it out for the one that you love. In reality you can be arrested doing that. I loved that movie. I was a huge fan of ‘Being There’ but I don’t know if that was an ’80’s movie or not. It’s right. It’s ’81, I think. It’s such an indelible decade. The ’90’s is this sort of vaguely kind of forgettable decade style wise. It’s more of a hodgepodge of the previous three decades. So the ’80’s really had this jenesequa unto itself and that’s always fun to explore.

Question: Did the action scenes in ‘Wolverine’, those really big sequences, did they take days and days to film? I know you haven’t done that before so how do you prepare for that kind of stuff?

Reynolds: Well, I have a sword sequence in the movie that is probably less than a minute long in the film but that takes months and months to prepare for. When you think about it like that it’s vaguely depressing, but when you actually do it, it’s worth it, when you see on the screen that it’s me and it’s not a stunt person and I’m doing my thing. So, yeah, they’re slow. We had action sequences that took weeks. We had one fight sequence that took weeks.

Question: The movie is called ‘Wolverine’, but are you in it for the majority of it?

Reynolds: No. I initially started out as just a cameo and they added a little bit more, but for the most part it’s definitely Hugh’s movie. It also has an ensemble feel, too. There’s also a lot of guys in it. There are a lot of characters and they’ve added a bunch of mutants that the fanboys really love. But I initially jumped in there because I had to go shoot ‘Proposal’ and this other movie called ‘Paper Man’ while they were shooting ‘Wolverine’. I was committed to those already when they approached me for the role. I just said, ‘Look, if you can make it work make it work.’ Then we ended up going on and doing additional photography at the end of ‘Wolverine’ because I still hadn’t shot the lion share of what I was supposed to shoot. A lot of people thought they were adding more scenes because they added more Deadpool, but it was just a function of me finishing the movie that I wasn’t able to complete yet.

Question: Do you have another project lined up yet?

Reynolds: No, not yet.

Question: Was it fun being in an amusement park doing these scenes or annoying?

Reynolds: It’s annoying because there’s all these sound issues and there are a lot of background artists. I mean, they’re at an amusement park, but they’re being told to be quiet and stay in one section. So I think naturally they got a little antsy and some takes get ruined because people are yelling and screaming and talking and stuff.

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