Ryan Reynolds: Funniest Man Alive

If the world didn’t know it before, it does now. Ryan Reynolds’s role in the Marvel blockbuster Deadpool series has shone the global spotlight on his gifts as a funnyman. And Reynolds puts his comedic talents on display all the more when he takes aim at himself. But sitting across from the forty-four-year-old actor, you can sense that there is more to him than just a goofy Canadian. Even though he always makes his conversation partners laugh.
Text Rüdiger Sturm
Photo Matthew Brooks / Trunk Archive

Mr. Reynolds, you were once officially named “Sexiest Man Alive”, you are a famous movie star, your wife is a beautiful celebrity, you have three children . . . You could say that everything in your life is pretty much perfect, couldn’t you?
Ryan Reynolds: Let’s start with “Sexiest Man Alive”. First of all, you have to deeply consider the source. It was a magazine. I don’t know if a magazine can be the arbiter of sexy. That is such as subjective thing, maybe the most subjective thing on Earth. You sort of laugh. A year later someone else is the guy.

So you don’t wander around the streets saying, “Hey, I’m a sex symbol!”?
I’m sure someone would have shot me dead by now if I had done anything like that.

But you often talk about how happy you are with your family. How did you manage that?
For example, I fathered our three daughters. A gigantic achievement that I would not necessarily recommend to everyone.

For example, I fathered our three daughters. A gigantic achievement that I would not necessarily recommend to everyone.

Ryan Reynolds

Seriously, what kinds of things do you do for your wife, for example?
I’d do anything for my wife. I like random stuff. We’ll do the random flower thing as much as I can. Not because it’s a grand gesture. It’s because it means something to her. But she has also put up with a lot for us. We had to cut our honeymoon short for a film shoot. Instead of Africa, we were in northern Canada. We spent most of our time in an icy cold motel where we waged epic Scrabble battles.

How has having a family enriched your life?
Becoming a father cracks you open a little bit more. Of course being a parent is the most normal thing in the world, but at the same time it is a very profound experience that moves you so much. And now I love to be home. In my twenties I would have been happy to live out of one suitcase three or four years at a time. Now things are totally changed. I get my me-time during my occasional road trips on my motorcycle.

Becoming a father cracks you open a little bit more. Of course being a parent is the most normal thing in the world, but at the same time it is a very profound experience that moves you so much.

Ryan Reynolds

Is there a man you would say led a fulfilled life?
Definitely my grandfather. He was homeless at fourteen years old. He lived in trains and box cars in Western Canada. He’d spend an entire year working odd jobs to save as much money as he could. The following year he would go to school. He put himself through school and saved as much money as he could until he became a renowned anesthesiologist. He was head of the Canadian Hospital and a really successful man who was self-made in every single way. And he was not jaded or destroyed by it all. He was badly frostbitten when he was living in these box cars because he didn’t have proper footwear. He used to walk around and if he saw anybody with a hole in their shoe, he would ask them their shoe size and the next day he would bring them a pair of shoes.

What were you like as a child?
I was the youngest of four boys. My father was a cop, and my brother was a cop, so it was a really testosterone-filled home. But I was programmed differently. I lived in my head a lot. I used to build entire cities out of Lego. I spent my entire day in a world of make believe, so it’s not very surprising that I ended up in this job.

What was your relationship like with your brothers?
I was less of a little brother and more of a moving target around the house, so it was certainly a positive childhood, but you have to have a high tolerance for some immensely disgusting acts. My brother Terry, his favorite seat in the house was my face. It was a great childhood but it was kind of an adventure, you know? My parents were a little more relaxed with me, a lot less strict: let him fall, let him climb up on the roof. Let him set himself on fire for his home movie.

You did that?
With lighter fluid. I was really lucky. Don’t try that at home, anybody who’s reading this. The home video was really short. I was just lighting myself on fire. It was devoid of any kind of significant plot.

Don’t try that at home, anybody who’s reading this.

Ryan Reynolds

We hope that that idea had nothing to do with your relationship to your brothers . . .
Having three older brothers is both awful and amazing at the same time. I remember when I was thirteen years old, I wanted to get an earring. And my brothers were saying, you are dead, dad is going to turn you into an actual liquid if you do this. I said, I don’t care, I am getting this earring. On my way home I am just a dead man walking. I know my father was going to take his fork and put it in my jugular, and I am going to bleed out at the table. And I hear my father mutter something kind of vile, and I look up. He’s not looking at me. He’s looking at my three older brothers and each of them got their ear pierced to save my ass. I look back at that and I forgive all the times my face was a seat cushion.

So you were a nice sweet little boy?
Well, I definitely played terrible pranks with firecrackers, that sort of stuff, all of that. I know there’s a statute of limitations, so I don’t really want to get into it right now, When I was eighteen years old, I was pretty reckless. So I am sure I have a lot to atone for. If there is in fact a judgment day, it’s going to be a long list for me.

Read the full interview with Ryan Reynolds, in which he talks about the early challenges of being an actor and much more, in the latest rampstyle #21.

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