DEFINITELY, MAYBE Written and directed by Adam Brooks, with Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks and Abigail Breslin. A Universal release. 105 minutes. Opens Thursday, February 14. Rating: NNNNN
Politics is in the air, and Ryan Reynolds knows how to play the game.
In his latest movie, Definitely, Maybe, the Vancouver-born hottie plays Will Hayes, a young guy who in his younger guyhood chose among three gorgeous and smart women played by Rachel Weisz (confident journalist), Elizabeth Banks (hometown sweetheart) and Isla Fisher (directionless waif).
One of them, Will informs his teenage daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), during a recounting of his romantic past, is her mom.
In town for an interview, Reynolds, looking taller than his onscreen self, diplomatically refuses to reveal which one of the women he found the hottest. Or the most fun. Smart guy.
“Chemistry’s always a very difficult thing to pinpoint,” he says, wearing a smart black blazer and the same sneakers from the film’s Valentine’s Day-approved rom-com poster.
“How does it work and what are the dynamics of it? I didn’t try to force or manufacture chemistry with anybody. I wanted to capture something that was authentic – particularly with Abigail. Whatever our dynamic was offscreen, I wanted that onscreen as well, even if it was contentious.”
Reynolds’s Will starts out as a political idealist working for Bill Clinton’s campaign. Funny, then, that the film should be released during the Democratic race. Reynolds is less closed-mouthed about who he’s backing.
“I’m a Barack supporter all the way,” he says. “I honestly feel the selection of a president should reflect our better selves. And Barack Obama’s a guy who makes me want to be a better person. He’s someone who’s made mistakes and has thought about them. Someone who carefully considers what’s going to affect millions of people, not just in America but the rest of the world.”
Reynolds gets excited about the fact that the presidential race is garnering more attention than entertainment news. Maybe it’s just relief. He’s been in his quota of tabloid articles, particularly around his split with Alanis Morissette and his possible relationship with Scarlett Johansson. (Too bad there was a “no personal questions” policy in place during our interview.)
“I never thought I’d see the day when young people were going out to rallies,” he says. “It’s like they’re taking back the country. It’s time for a sea change, and it’s gonna happen.”Reynolds started out in the Friends clone Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place, then modelled in a toga for his first starring feature, Van Wilder, followed by a string of pics, some of them, like The Amityville Horror, underwhelming, others, like Waiting, underrated.
Definitely, Maybe, penned by Toronto native Adam Brooks (see sidebar), could provide a nice segue for Reynolds to venture into more dramatic territory. His next feature, after all, is the family drama Fireflies In The Garden, starring heavyweights Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson.“I didn’t choose Fireflies because it was a drama, but because it was a phenomenal script,” he says. “And obviously there are excellent people involved.”
His glamorous life, he chuckles, doesn’t resemble the young-actor-on-the-rise series Entourage.
“You see these celebrities out there who are wild and up to this and that. I don’t think celebrity caused that, I think it magnified it. I’m the exact same person I’ve always been. I try to focus on my family and friends, my immediate surroundings, rather than things I can’t control.”
Still, does he ever pinch himself about how far he’s come?
“Yes, and sometimes I punch myself, too. But when you do that too long, it swells up pretty bad."
Additional Audio Clips
On avoiding the tabloids:
His Valentine's Day plans: