Ryan Reynolds Interview: Actor Reflects on Career, Teases Deadpool 3 – Hollywood Reporter

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The multihyphenate star, entrepreneur and branding expert — who will receive the American Cinematheque Award on Nov. 17 — reflects on the current state of his career.
By Pamela McClintock
Senior Film Writer
Ryan Reynolds recently took a year off from acting, but he’s ending 2022 with a bang. On Nov. 18, audiences will be able to see him opposite Will Ferrell in Spirited when the original holiday musical that’s loosely based on A Christmas Carol debuts on Apple TV+ following a limited theatrical run. He’s also shooting the John Krasinski-directed comedy If for Paramount. And on Nov. 17, Reynolds will become the 36th recipient of the prestigious American Cinematheque Award.
He’s certainly earned the top honor. The actor’s movies have amassed north of $5 billion at the global box office, led by the Deadpool franchise. Reynolds has starred in and produced one of the biggest theatrical hits of the pandemic era, 20th Century’s Free Guy, which grossed north of $331 million in the summer of 2021 (he played a key role in the marketing of that film as well). On the streaming side, his November 2021 action pic Red Notice — also starring Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot — tops the all-time list of most watched Netflix movies in the U.S., according to the streamer. And The Adam Project, reuniting Reynolds with Free Guy director Shawn Levy, ranks No. 5 on Netflix’s all-time top 10 (that movie hit the service in spring 2022)

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Outside of acting, Reynolds has found consistent levels of success too. He’s a savvy showman and brand maven who has a stake in a varied array of companies including Maximum Effort (both a production house and marketing agency) and Aviation gin, among other ventures. He is also the co-owner, along with Rob McElhenney, of Welsh soccer side Wrexham A.F.C. and co-produced the critically acclaimed FX docuseries Welcome to Wrexham that follows the team’s adventures.
“Ryan Reynolds is a Renaissance Man 2.0 for our times. He is an actor, a business entrepreneur, a writer, a comedian, a producer and a creative innovator onscreen and off,” American Cinematheque board chair Rick Nicita said in a statement announcing this year’s tribute dinner, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton. “Most important to us, he is a true modern movie star. He has reached the heights of stardom in movies shown on all platforms, in all genres ranging from comedies to dramas to action films or combinations of all three.”
Reynolds’ marketing acumen was again on full display last month when posting an Instagram video revealing that Hugh Jackman will appear as Wolverine in Marvel’s Deadpool 3 (Reynolds and Jackman, who are good friends, appeared together in the video). Normally, a major Hollywood studio would never “talent” orchestrate such a high-profile announcement. Reynolds is the exception.

The Hollywood Reporter recently caught up with Reynolds — who lives outside New York City with wife Blake Lively (he reveals he spent his recent year off there, shuttling their three young daughters to and from school) — to talk about his accomplishments and his closest creative conspirators.
The Cinematheque Award pays tribute to an extraordinary artist who’s making a significant contribution to the art of the moving picture. How does it feel to be described as “extraordinary”?
I’m not very good at acknowledging myself this way — I tend to squirm and deflect as much as possible. But this award feels less about me and more about acknowledging (and, to a degree, being acknowledged by) my peers and the village I’ve cut my teeth in. At a certain point in one’s life, you cross over from cynicism to appreciation, and I’m glad this came to me sooner rather than later. I’ve been at this for over three decades. I’m in it, but not necessarily of it. Nonetheless, showbiz is a community that has, directly and indirectly, shaped me into the person I am today. I’m deeply grateful to it — for so much. 
Were you able to take a break after Spirited wrapped?
I did! I actually took an entire year away from shooting films. I was still extremely active at Maximum Effort Marketing and Maximum Effort Production, but I could at least keep sensible hours and do school drop off and pick up for my kids. 
What was it like working with Will Ferrell for the first time on Spirited — any fun stories from the set?

Will is one of those performers I’d always dreamed of working with. He’s a bucket list for me. You’d be hard-pressed to find any performer who’s contributed as much to the modern comedic lexicon as Will. But what I love most about this man is his humanity. There’s a decency within him that’s akin to a [Jimmy] Stewart or a [Tom] Hanks. I love him.
You seem to form incredibly close bonds with people you’ve worked with. Krasinski is one example, while you’ve previously described Levy as a soulmate. Have you gotten picky about those you work with?
I realize it’s an obscene privilege to be able to say this — I get to mostly choose who I work with. And I get to work with my friends. And whether it’s Hugh, John, Shawn or any of the cameos I’ve littered throughout the films I’ve produced. I love telling stories. I love collaborating. And when you can combine those loves while standing next to your best buddy, it feels like retirement. In the best way. 
And you’re now working for John on If, right?
John Krasinski is a person I’ve been friends with for a long time, and I’ve watched him go from a promising director to a visionary. I never take it for granted that I [now] get a front-row seat to that vision each and every day.
Your Wolverine reveal was a viral sensation. We’ve talked about this before, but why do you enjoy the marketing side of the business so much?

I enjoy mischief. And as corny as it sounds, I love that the north star for Maximum Effort is bringing people together in smart, fun and unexpected ways. I’ve waited my whole career for creative connections like I have with George Dewey and James Toney, my partners at the company, and I don’t take it for granted. I don’t know how I ended up this lucky to know people — and I’m including Levy and Hugh and Krasinski and many others — who share values and a work ethic like this.
Can you tell me how long Jackman’s role as Wolverine in Deadpool 3 — which will hit theaters in 2024 — has been in the works?
I’ve wanted this to happen since the day my mother and father finished a box of chardonnay and checked into that Holiday Inn Express to produce a child [me].
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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