A few months back we had a chat with Colin Farrell and brought up the fact that it's been a solid twelve years since he became an overnight sensation. Yet, here he was, still headlining major productions and generally thriving as a movie star. When we quizzed him about his surprising longevity, he had a simple, honest response: "a lot of second chances".
Ryan Reynolds had that 'something' from the start. Those with an ability to spot talent did so when he appeared on barely remembered sitcom, 'Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place'. It was his comic timing in that show that led to a starring role in 'Van Wilder', which in turn, somehow gave the actor a pathway to action with 'Blade: Trinity'. That film, despite its relative failure, is key in the career of Reynolds.
Before, he was just a fast-talking sardonic type (granted, a good-looking one - but spill a kale shake in Hollywood and it'll likely stain the jocks of an actor claiming similar talents.) For 'Trinity', Reynolds got jacked; not just in shape, but absolutely shredded. Hollywood took notice and he became a fully-fledged leading man. Solid work in the underrated comedy 'Just Friends' and horror remake 'Amityville' followed, but that tricky 'opening' of a film at the box office still eluded him.
The success of 'The Proposal' really came down to his chemistry with Sandra Bullock - it was more her movie than his. But it did underline the smugness of studio execs who just knew he had the ability to put bums on seats.
The next few years saw solid work in poorly performing films ('Adventureland', 'Definitely, Maybe') and out-and-out flops ('Green Lantern', 'RIPD'). But in the middle, there was a ray of sunshine; 'Safe House' paired him with the closest thing there is to guaranteed box-office, Denzel Washington. It was more like a Bourne movie than the actual Jeremy Renner-led spin-off and it made solid bank. He also proved with the criminally underrated 'Buried' that he's a damn fine actor - even in the most extenuating of circumstances.
At a certain point, Reynolds - possibly on the advice of publicist - started opening up about his private life a bit more. He's married to actress Blake Lively and they have a child together, but previously he'd underlined constantly in interviews that he wanted to retain some mystery around his life and work. We assume that his thought process was that the less people knew about Ryan Reynolds the actor, the more they'd buy him in whatever film he was in. That changed when he was able to get passion project 'Deadpool' made. He was instrumental in not just bringing the 'Merc with the Mouth' to the big screen, but he did so under the strictest of terms: it couldn't deviate from the sacred source material. Instantly, he had fanboys on board. He was one of them, after all.... just with 4% bodyfat and a winning ticket to the genetic lottery.
What we've seen since the early promos of 'Deadpool' is the rebirth of a movie star. Previously funny (if somewhat guarded) in interviews, he was now charming the shit out of seasoned pros such as Matt Lauer and giving great face time to whomever he was sat next to. The reason for this is probably obvious; for possibly the first time, he had a film he really, truly cared about. AND he made it happen. AND it's really good.
Reynolds is now part of an elite club of leading men. He's the perfect age to shine in the right way (he'll be 40 this year) and he'll now be part of a conversation for the type of roles that the A+ list get the first scripts for. The current climate is that they go to DiCaprio/Bale then Cooper/Fassbender/Gosling/Gyllenhaal. The difference now is that out of that bunch, the only one who's coming off the back of a monster hit is DiCaprio. His next few choices (and there will be a lot) are absolutely crucial.
A 'Deadpool' sequel is a given - as is popping up as the character in the broader Marvel Universe. After that, it's a case of juggling opportunities with the options he has laid in front of him. And thanks to second (and third) chances, he'll have his pick of them.