Ryan Reynolds has hit it lead recent roles in major big-screen blockbusters like Wolverine and The Proposal. He’s also got a pretty sweet personal life to now that he’s married to actress Scarlett Johansson. In Adventureland, on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 25, Reynolds plays Mike Connell, a technician at a theme park, who's having an affair with a much younger girl played by Kristen Stewart. Get the inside scoop from Reynolds on amusement parks, dead-end jobs, and more ...
Was it difficult to make such a roguish character so charming?
Why thank you very much. It wasn’t my goal to make him that likeable, so I failed you! Again. Yeah, it was fun. I liked that there is no real villains or heroes in this movie. I fthey eel like it’s a lot like life, you know, people have complexities and have their heroic moments and their villainous moments. I will say that with this cast I've never felt so old. It was a routine of humility. Obviously this guy is having a pretty inappropriate relationship with this very, very young girl, but the spirit on the set, it really felt like where I was eight or nine years ago. It was like a pretty cool place to be each day.
Have you ever had what seemed like a dead-end job?
Yeah, I worked at a restaurant in Vancouver. I shouldn’t even name it! It was a restaurant in Kitsilano and I was a busboy there, but no one ever really ate there. I think I was actually working for Peruvian drug lords. This was my thought. I had like this abusive boss who had a fuse that was absolutely minimal at best, and I worked there all day. And then at night, I would work at a grocery store the graveyard shift, you know, throwing fresh fruit at my co-workers.
And this was when you were a struggling actor?
Yeah. I mean I was a struggling actor, as much as I could be in Vancouver. I mean you can only play so many ex-Falcon Crest stars’ sons in so many ‘movies of the week’ before you just you burn out! So yeah, I was kind of doing that to supplement my happiness, believe it or not.
What did you make of Twilight star Kristen Stewart, your co-star in Adventureland?
Kristen is great. She’s really great. Obviously life has changed for her in a pretty drastic way since then. So it was kind of cool to see her talking about this thing called Twilight she might do.
Adventureland is a very personal film for Greg Mottola and he’s based a lot of the characters on people that he knew. Did he say that you were based on a particular person?
I don’t think so. You know, that probably would have been a smart thing for me to ask him! But I don’t know. He and I had about four different meetings before I jumped in there, because I didn’t have a lot of trust — I didn’t really know Greg that well other than seeing SuperBad, and I just thought, ‘Is this guy going to just be your stereotypical douche or is he going to be a guy that’s actually got some depth to him or another side to him?
And then, when you hang out with Greg a little bit longer, you realize that all these specifics are in the script for a reason, because this is a guy that actually lived this life and that’s what I love about Adventureland. He’s really created a world you know, where there are such specific instances happening and specific characters that you think ‘Wow, there is no way that someone just made this up; this has actually happened’. It was a great experience. Greg has poured his heart and soul into it in every way.
What are the everyday dramas you deal with in dead-end, “unglamorous” jobs?
Oh yeah. I mean you know, you’d be hard pressed to find more drama in Days of Our Lives than you do in an average job each day. I mean co-workers can create a jocular sort of lifestyle that’s going on. Everybody is kind of trying to get ahead or kind of create this job and mould it to their own needs at the same time. My job in the restaurant sucked, but at the same time, the thing that kept me going to work each day and really kind of got me through it were my co-workers. The same people that you have fights with and disagreements with are the same people that you rely on and you count on to stay sane in these crazy jobs.
You mentioned the specifics in the script, what specifics about your character helped you the most?
For me it was just his unabashed fantasy life that my character was leading, this idea that he’s so much more than he actually is. He has this inability to accept where he is in his life, and that’s something that I feel really heartbreaking. I found it touching in a strange way, that this guy is so disappointed with how things turned out for himself that he’s chosen to really try to be the biggest fish in the smallest pond he could possibly find. And that’s what that represented for him. To me, that was reason enough to jump in there and do it.
Is it fun being on an amusement park to make a film, or was it annoying?
It’s annoying because there is all these sound issues. There are a lot of background artists, too. They're at an amusement park, but they're being told to be quiet and stay in one section. So I think that naturally it got a little antsy and some takes get ruined because people are yelling and screaming and talking and all sorts of stuff.
What are the different considerations that go into shooting an ensemble-supporting role, like in Adventureland versus a lead role?
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 the time. When they come along in a movie like Adventureland, 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 I’m a big role or a small role.
You were just a kid in the ’80s when this movie is set. Did you have any special like favorite movies or music from the ’80s?
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 where you picture yourself with a ghetto blaster over your head and blasting it out for the one you love. In reality, you’d be arrested for doing that. But I love that movie. I was a huge fan of Being There, but I don’t know if that was an ’80s movie or not. It’s such an indelible decade — the ’90s was this vaguely forgettable decade, style wise. It’s more of a hodgepodge of the previous three decades. So the ’80s really had this je ne sais quois unto itself that is always fun to explore.
Are you still auditioning or are people hiring you based on the fact that they want Ryan Reynolds in their film?
Truthfully, I haven't auditioned in a long, long time, but it’s never outside the realm of possibility. I mean 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, just sitting down with them and just saying here is my vision for it and here is why I really love it. But for the most part, I think filmmakers gravitate towards people that are excited – as excited as they are about the film and as passionate about it. So sometimes going after it isn't so much a function of auditioning as it is just sitting down with the filmmaker.
Do you ever make choices based on wanting to avoid being be typecast?
Not usually, no. I've never had a movie that I was the star of that made a billion dollars at the box office. Maybe things change for people when that happens. Maybe suddenly you're sort of pushed in that direction a lot more, but in a way, I've been lucky because of that. I can do a bunch of different stuff.
Having worked with Sandra Bullock now in The Proposal after knowing for so long, did you learn anything new about her?
She has an 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 was the girl next door or she’s America’s sweetheart or any of that crap – but no, it’s the fact that she’s got some sort of weird, bizarre supernatural gift that I’m deeply envious of and would love to have some day. We've been friends for a long time, but we haven't been up in each other’s grill for 15 hours a day for three months. So thankfully, that all worked out well and she didn’t stick her three-legged dogs on me.