Mention the words “man” and “crush” in front of Ryan Reynolds and expect a wide grin on the star’s face.
Yes, the heterosexual man-crush is something the 31-year-old Canadian actor is aware of and willing to address, albeit in a humble and flattered tone.
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“I’ve heard a bit of that and that’s an incredibly flattering thing to say,” Reynolds says of the hero-worship phenomenon that seemed to overtake many of his straight male fans beginning with his breakout turn in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.
The drive to emulate Reynolds hit a fever pitch with his appearance in Blade: Trinity, in which he played a vampire hunter.
“There’s guys out there that I have my own versions of man-crushes on,” he adds. “We all have that and that’s a flattering thing when guys say that. That’s exactly what you want to hear when you have a movie coming out.”
That new film is the romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe, in which the Vancouver-born actor co-stars with Rachel Weisz (The Fountain), Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, Hot Rod) and Elizabeth Banks (Fred Claus).
Reynolds plays Will Hayes, a soon-to-be-divorced dad who is grilled over his early love life by his daughter Maya (Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin). Instead of revealing all of the finer details, Will explains how he dated three women in his bachelor years, one of which would be revealed as her mom by the end of the story.
If life could imitate art then perhaps Reynolds would opt to assign aliases to the women he’s been linked to in his personal life, including singer and ex-fiancée Alanis Morissette, and most recently Nanny Diaries star Scarlett Johansson. Reynolds has struggled to keep his personal life out of the tabloids, but at times the paparazzi have confounded those efforts leaving the actor frustrated.
“It doesn’t make it difficult to maintain relationships in my personal life, it makes it difficult to not have violent outbursts in public,” he says of the constant pressures of an increasingly scrutinized personal life, highlighted recently by the quickly denied rumours he and Johansson are engaged. “You can only take so much before you think you’re going to snap.”
The reason for that reluctance to delve into his personal affairs with the media has far less to do with shyness than it does with a desire for maintaining some sort of artistic disconnect between himself and the cinema-going public.
“Some people love to share with the media every aspect of their personality, but my problem with it is that those people lose their mystery to me and as actors I don’t want to watch them on screen after learning about what every aspect of their last or current relationship was, or their religious preferences, or what they ate for dinner last night. I think as a fan of film that’s an important thing to preserve.”
Definitely, Maybe is in theatres now.