We needed a new hero. Only a few people knew it. Others disagreed. The rest of us simply had no clue. The problem? ‘New’ is risky. New is disruptive. New is…“New is great,” says Ryan Reynolds. “As long as it’s useful. If it’s not, it’s gone in a heartbeat.”
Sort of like what happens to bad new movies. And what would’ve happened to Deadpool if that film hadn’t scratched a deeply unscratched itch. In the land of superhero flicks, who knew that itch required Reynolds’s 2016 R-rated sexgore comedy with authority issues? Reynolds kind of did. He spent 11 years trying to get Deadpool made.
Aside from a persistent guy, does that make him an innovator? Perhaps. “We’re in an age of ultra-communication, scoops, leaks, all these things. We’re bees; we spread information instantly,” he says. “It’s increasingly harder to surprise an audience in any capacity.”
Reynolds’s brand of innovation does have its set of laws. To innovate does not mean alienate. Pushing boundaries does not include causing pain. For a guy like him, that means inviting you to join him on the ledge.
On the eve of Deadpool 2’s release, we bring you:
7.5 Laws For Reinvention
Disrupt, BS, and curse your way to success—just like Ryan Reynolds!
Law #1: Let Ideas Fly
“There’s an old saying on a film set, ‘If you can’t find the asshole, it’s you,’ ” says Reynolds. You never want to be that guy. “At work, I like everyone to be part of the process. That means if the caterer has a good idea, you want to hear it.” Be friendly. Be open. Be a catchall. And be sure to give credit to the person who first thought of the idea. No one likes a thought thief.
Law #2: Pivot When Necessary
For Reynolds, serious is stale. Before shooting began on The Hitman’s Bodyguard with Samuel L. Jackson, the initial script felt flat. “It was so different by the time we went to camera, a tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of buddy-cop action movies,” Reynolds says. “And that all happened about three weeks before shooting.”
Law #3: Stay Nimble
Reynolds has worked with trainer Don Saladino for eight years. “[Don] has programs that I can access online because when I’m shooting, my hours are so erratic. I don’t want to have to meet somebody at 4 in the morning in a dark gym. I just want to go when I can go.” When you plan your travels, plan your workouts as well.
Law #4: Own Your Flaws
“I am not innovative in the kitchen,” Reynolds says. “If I cook, you’ll have a structure fire. The firemen will kick down our door, take my wife away, and give her a better life.” If you know your limitations, accept them—especially if they could result in the incineration of personal property.
Law #5: Don’t Be Insane
Reynolds eats “clean, whole foods” every two or three hours when he’s bulking for a role. But he stops short of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine diet, which reportedly involved 6,000 calories, some of which were eaten at 2 a.m. “Hugh Jackman has a dedication to his craft that I’m afraid I don’t share. If I’m up at 2 in the morning, it’s because something has gone terribly wrong.”
Law #6: Ball Bust
Speaking of Jackman, Reynolds maintains an ongoing “feud” with the Aussie. (Example: Jackman tweets a lovely photo with a group of Chinese fans; Reynolds replies, “Pretty sure those are protesters.”) “Busting balls is a great thing, but busting balls needs to work in stark contrast to that person’s character.”
Law #7.5: Toy With The Line
“I’ve certainly said things online where I’ve thought, oh boy. I’m fortunate that there’s some precedent for me acting like a jackass. If I were somebody like, I dunno, Condoleezza Rice, it might be a bit different.” Then he smiles. “But you have to set precedents at some point.”
Law #7.5: Curse Creatively
Everyone and their grandma uses the same swear words, usually in the same context. Push yourself harder: “I love a good compound swear word,” Reynolds says. “‘This party’s shitty’ isn’t nearly as effective as ‘This party’s a total shit symphony.’ That gives it a little jushe.” This law is only half a law because, really, come on.
On his Twitter feed, that has garnered him just short of 11 million followers (at the time of publishing) : “The Internet is so hostile, so many people have so many opinions, I have no problem sounding like a hot bag of ignorant shit if it’s going to make people laugh a little bit,” Reynolds says. Follow him at twitter.com/VancityReynolds.