We spoke to Denzel Washington recently for about 45 minutes for the release of Flight. And he was talking about... Safe House 2.
Yes... Safe House 2. It would be interesting how they solve one little tricky problem in that. I don't know. I mean, I'm not literate, but I do recall having the script read to me before we began shooting in South Africa. But yeah, I've been approached about it and I don't know. The script is in development - it should be around in a month I think. We'll see. I don't know.
Could it be a prequel?
Well a prequel wouldn't work either because we wouldn't have met, we wouldn't be together. I mean, a prequel would work with Denzel. I think that'd be an interesting film. A sequel... I don't know. We'll see.
Speaking of sequels, when can we expect Buried 2?
Wow, that's... you know what? I'm not in charge of the Lionsgate Studio stupid ideas department. If I were, I could share some great stupid ideas I have. Unburied 2 - he's back and deader than ever.
How did you recover from that shoot? Because I know it was arduous to put it mildly.
I had no idea it would be that intense. It was just 16 days of shooting, which is nothing in normal film terms. That's rehearsal. But halfway through I was just so destroyed - I had no voice left. And my body was just so cut and bruised... I never thought I would be so beat up. And so I booked a holiday for after the shoot, a beach vacation. I had never done that before. I always liked to turn my vacations into the Amazing Race or something.
Anyway, I booked this beach vacation and I remember getting there and putting my head down in the sand and all I could think about was all the sand I'd been putting my backside on in Buried. I'd burned a bald patch in the back of my head from the sand in the coffin, slamming my head against this thing. So I promptly stopped my holiday after a day and a half and I just and went back to Canada and hugged my Mom. I basically hugged my Mom for four straight days. Yep, it wasn't at all weird for either of us.
You worked with Rodrigo Cortes on that film - was he sympathetic to that? I mean, you must have read the script and thought, okay, I'm gonna be in box for the duration of this, the entire movie.
Well, when you read the story, you're like, "Okay, first of all, no one's gonna see this." And that's fine, you know. But I just wanted to see if it could be done. I met with Rodrigo Cortes who insisted that it could be - and then he wrote me this 15-page manifesto on how he would do it and why he wanted to do it. And the why for him was because it's impossible. The script is so good and so strong and if Alfred Hitchcock were alive today, he would try to do this. And I just got so swept up in his enthusiasm and it was a script I had actually had at my company for a long time.... So we were thrilled when Rodrigo came along.
|In a tight spot filming Rodrigo Cortes' Buried|
Is that the biggest effort that somebody's made to woo you to a project in your career? Have you had that experience before?
Yeah. I mean, studios will use money, whereas in the world of independent filmmaking it's simply passion and earnestness. And that's a world that I love - in fact, the last movie I just wrapped four days ago was a little Atom Egoyan film and the movie I'm about to start is a filmmaker you may or may not know - though at Empire I'm sure you will, actually - Marjane Satrapi. Do you know the name?
Yes, she made Persepolis, didn't she?
She's incredible. So I'm gonna go play a serial killer with her in Germany for a couple of months which will be fun. That's another example of a time where you read the script and you think it's impossible. How can you make this movie? It's called The Voices, by the way.
What's the holiday after that going to be?
Yeah, I know. Exactly.
Had you been offered many other animation voiceover roles before The Croods?
Not really. It's a great job. I mean, it's dreadfully easy. Actors love to say how hard it was, but really you do these two-hour stints and you can record them anywhere in the world. Actually I recorded a lot of The Croods when I was doing Safe House in Cape Town. It was a blast. That said, it's important you only do two hours at a time too 'cause you actually burn out. You're playing this heightened version of yourself and you're so loud and you're yelling and you just fry after a couple hours.
There are some great names in The Croods. You've got Eep and Thunk and you're a guy called Guy. But I want to cast your mind back to when you played a character called Jay "Boom" DeBoom.
Wow. X-Files. That is real research right there.
Do you have fond memories of recording the episode and how did it feel to watch your own coffin burst into flames?
Did it burst into flames? I don't think I ever saw it. I remember the character, though, I remember I had a great name, Jay "Boom" DeBoom. I was 17 years old and I was auditioning for The X-Files... that was probably my 47th audition for The X-Files, actually, and then they gave in and gave it to me. And I was using the money simply to just drive down to L.A. and join The Groundlings, which is an improv comedy group there. I remember that particular director telling me not to go. He was like, "Be a medium size fish in a tiny pond. Don't be a tiny, itty bitty little fish in an ocean. What's wrong with you?" I remember thinking, "Wow, you're a dick!" and just going anyway. He probably did the kindest thing he could for me, 'cause I think I went about 10 miles an hour faster down to L.A. the entire way after what he said. So it was kind of an interesting experience.
It's going to sound like we're obsessed with sequels here, but have you ever seen Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of The Taj?
|"I loved doing Wolverine 'cause the movie wasn't on my shoulders. I got to kind of come in and insult everybody."|
I wish I could say I have, but I have not, no. I really haven't. I love Kal Penn, so I want to at some point. But with sequels being usually very derivative and stupid, I can imagine it was a bit of an uphill battle for him. But he's such a talented guy, and very smart too. The man works for Obama for God's sake. I haven't seen the third instalment either where I think they recast a new Van Wilder.
How does that feel? To be recast?
I feel incredibly flattered by it. I was like, "Wow, that's awesome. You guys wanna make this movie so badly that you're willing to just keep going even though I don't want to do it." And I met the guy who played Van Wilder [Mean Girls' Jonathan Bennett - ed] and he seemed great. He seemed like a smart young whippersnapper.
Did you pat him on the shoulder and say, "Go be a big fish in a little pond"?
100%. I said, "Don't do it! Don't do it, go back to Canada." He said, "I'm not from Canada." "Just go there anyway," I said. "Go back to Canada where you don't come from."
And are you looking forward to returning to the world of Seth MacFarlane for Ted 2?
I've done four episodes of Family Guy and sometimes I just play characters that are kind of like "Astronaut #4". I just love him, I love that show. Ted, I had a blast doing. I think I worked for two and a half days, or no, two and a half hours, excuse me. I was in Boston already and he asked whether I would come down and make out with Patrick Warburton. I said, "Would I? I'll go to third base!" So I went down there and gave Mark Wahlberg a dirty look, then made out with Patrick Warburton. I never told my wife about that.
She knew that I was in it somewhere, and I genuinely have such a terrible memory for these things, so I really didn't remember what I'd done. I knew there was some like vague guy-on-guy kissing. So my wife watches Ted and gets a surprise. She wasn't like, "Wow, that was your A game!" or anything, but she noticed.
You didn't make it to the Oscars this year, did you?
No, I was in Northern Canada shooting this film with Atom Egoyan, but I saw the highlights. They have basic cable in Canada, so it was easy - it's usually combined with indoor plumbing. Anyway, so I'd just finished beaver trapping and headed indoors to see the Oscars and I watched Seth just kill it. I thought he did a great job, you know. I just thought it was funny 'cause he abandoned the whole idea that you have to be so reverent at these things.
I mean, who cares? Let's just have fun with it. Also younger kids don't tune in to watch some guy standing up there who's 68 years old and wants to tell his life story in real time. They don't care. They want to see something different.
What would a Ryan Reynolds-hosted Oscar ceremony look like?
Well for starters, it would be in complete blackness. It would be a Marcel Marceau affair mixed with radio plays. Ultimately it would be really auteur.
The first Oscar ceremony in mime?
Oh, for sure, the first one in mime, yeah. And then we'd turn the lights on... wait, the lights would be off for mime, you see - that's some dark art right there.
I always think the most unenviable job in Hollywood is hosting the Academy Awards because you just can't fucking win. You are gonna get crucified no matter who you are or what you are. You play it safe, it's boring, everybody falls asleep. If you play it risky, everybody's offended and pissed off. It's just a no-win situation.
When you've attended the Oscars, do you get a sense of the dangerous mood in the room?
Everyone's hungry, man. It's like four and a half hours long. I would think it would be much more productive to sit down all together and watch all the movies in real time. And then you have a little gladiator sport at the end where each director of each of the nominated movies fights to the death - and once again Ben Affleck wins. Ben Affleck versus Ang Lee? I only see one person winning that.
There's been a lot of talk about the idea of a Justice League movie. Has anyone called you up about it yet?
Not yet. I don't know. If you're gonna do comic book movies in that vein, you really have to get them right. I believe that Joss Whedon is the guy that just nails it and Christopher Nolan obviously nails it. So if they were gonna do it like that, it would be an interesting thing to do. It's just that... working on Green Lantern, I saw how difficult it is make that concept palatable, and how confused it all can be when you don't really know exactly where you're going with it or you don't really know how to access that world properly - that world comic book fans have been accessing for decades and falling in love with. So at this point I have very little interest in joining that kind of world. But, you know, a great script and a good director can always turn that around.
|Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine|
Could we expect maybe a Days of Future Past Deadpool cameo? You need to grab the sides of the camera and smash somebody on the head with it, and soon.
I love that kind of stuff. I loved doing Wolverine 'cause the movie wasn't on my shoulders. I got to kind of come in and insult everybody. It was a lot of fun actually. I love Deadpool and there is a script that's in development. But it's so, so far into the R-rated zone... it's a nearly NC-17 world and I just don't know if the studio would ever risk their reputation doing it. We've been developing it and we would never wanna do it unless you could it that R-rated way, so...
And it was Zombieland's writers that made the hard R script?
Yeah, Paul Wernick and Rhett Rheese. Deadpool's got a similar tone almost. They wrote it and they developed it as well and, you know, it's sitting there. You could do it for a pittance compared to the modern sort of epic scale superhero movies, but it's about a guy who knows he's in a movie and knows he's in a comic book who is deeply mentally disturbed and hyper violent. And that's tough to get by a studio.
We had a heated debate about the greatest fourth wall-breaking moment in cinema on the podcast recently. Our favourite ones included Ferris Bueller and Crank. Do you have a favourite?
Wow. Ferris Bueller is very, very good. I've done it only once I think. I think wasn't there one in like How To Get Ahead In Advertising? That one, then.
Another slightly curveball question: we're celebrating movie soundtracks at the moment and Adventureland has got a terrific one. Do you have a movie soundtrack that really inspires you?
Everybody loves The Mission. I also find it sort of funny and moving at the same time 'cause it's so impactful and intense. I like anything Mychael Danna's done. He just actually won an Oscar for Life Of Pi. He scored the first movie I ever did [1993's Ordinary Magic - ed] and I've followed him ever since. And he's scoring the movie I just finished as well with Atom Egoyan. So I love his stuff. I mean, Life Of Pi was a beautiful, beautiful film.
Have you seen The Mission in the cinema?
Because I remember seeing it with my parents. And it just destroyed me. I think the music was...
...hard to masturbate to. Actually, I saw it at home. I saw it at home. I was...
Yeah, of course. I can't just do that in the theatre. I'm not some sort of heathen.
It's good to have standards. To just jump back to Deadpool, how would it work in the time period? Would it fit within the Wolverine story that we know in Origins?
I don't think you can do that, because that character would really sully that whole world. The script is one rewrite away from Deadpool jumping across the desk at the studio executive and attacking him.
But I've always wanted to do the movie if only because Deadpool would get to do his own movie trailer. So that's a thing that we were dying to do and we would love to be a part of that. I don't know how it would fit though, no. In the current iteration of the script, it doesn't address Wolverine - though it does address Deadpool's appearance in Wolverine. Deadpool was not happy with Deadpool in Wolverine. He has a sort of a WTF!? moment with that.
On a completely different tack now - the tagline for your Boss, Hugo Boss advert... to me it didn't make any sense.
Yeah. What is it?
Can you not remember?
There are... a number of them.
It's a quote from you: "I don't expect success. I prepare for it."
Oh, I know where this is from. This is a quote directly out of an interview after I ran the New York City Marathon. It was a tongue-in-cheek line. I finished this marathon and I had no plans to finish it, but I certainly prepared for it. You know, I certainly like trained for four or five months for it, diligently. I did exactly what I needed to do. But at the end of the day, who was I to say that I wasn't going to be, you know, hit by a brick from a skyscraper window in New York City?
Within context, that makes a lot more sense. How fast did you do the marathon?
I did pretty good I thought: three hours and 50 minutes.
That's really fast. You must have expected it a bit...
Yeah, I guess so, but I had bronchitis and I was just a wreck. So but I felt better once I started running. I was running with a guy who's just one genetic link away from being Kenyan. I mean, he was just so good, so fast, he was practically running backwards and still keeping up with me. He actually made every trip to the bathroom you could make during the run, still caught up to me. He may have stopped at a Waffle House at one point. Here's the kicker: he's my agent.
That's not right. Get a new agent. Get a new, slightly more overweight agent.
I know. I need a guy who sits at a desk all day. And by the way, I got passed by a guy with a prosthetic leg at one point.
|Ryan voices Turbo in the upcoming DreamWorks animation|
Speaking of racing and/or running, you're gonna be a snail in Turbo soon...
Yes, I am.
Now you were approached to play nomad in The Croods and then you were approached to play a snail in Turbo. How does it feel when your agent takes those calls?
Ha, that time it wasn't my agent. I was working on The Croods with Jeffrey Katzenberg, who's one of the most interesting guys in show business, I think. He's a mogul. He's done amazing things. And I'm kind of a fan of his, you know, so I was at dinner with him and he said, "I have a pitch for you." And I was like, "A pitch for me, well okay! Let's start with 'I'm in.' Second, what's your pitch?" And it was like, "I've got this movie: it's about a guy who has a dream and his dream is to be the fastest creature alive." And I said, "Okay." "But the kicker is that he's a snail," he says. And I'm just like, "I'm in." As in, "Check please, I'm in. We're good." So I started The Croods, then did Turbo after The Croods.
You've got a lot of films coming up. Aside from The Croods and Turbo, the Atom Egoyan film looks interesting... But do you have any plans to return to the world of rom-coms?
Yeah. I'd like to go back to rom-coms. They're fun. The problem with romantic comedies is you know the ending by the poster. So they're not movies you can keep doing over and over again expect satisfaction somehow. They're really about the pairing. You know, I had a dance partner named Sandra Bullock last time and that was as good as it could ever get. So if you're never going to do a rom-com again, it's after you work with her.
We should wrap up... Ryan, it's been an absolute pleasure.
Ditto. Thank you. Thank you for having me on your podcast.
And when you're next in town, we can get you another variety of Marks & Spencer sweets.
Yeah, Perky Pigs [sic]. I would absolutely love that. Oh, and maybe a cardigan.