THE HIT­MAN’S BODYGUARD

Ryan Reynolds and Sa­muel L. Jack­son team up for laughs, thrills and sev­eral dozen swears.

Empire (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Sa­muel L. Jack­son and Ryan Reynolds made a film to­gether in 2013, but didn’t cross paths once. That’s be­cause the film was CG an­i­ma­tion

Turbo, a not-ex­actly-clas­sic tale of a com­mon gar­den snail (voiced by Reynolds) who dreams of be­ing a racer, and is at one point given a pep talk by a mouthy mol­lusc named Whiplash (Jack­son). “You can do 300 an­i­mated movies for Dream­works and never once meet a co-star,” ex­plains Reynolds. “Those are odd jobs.”

The film that has fi­nally got them to­gether prop­erly is The Hit­man’s Bodyguard. An unashamed throw­back to the buddy movies of the ’80s and ’90s, the ac­tion com­edy sees Reynolds’ bodyguard-with-a-past Michael Bryce (who’s also a con­trol freak) as­signed to Jack­son’s as­sas­sin Dar­ius Kin­caid (who could not be more laid­back) to en­sure he gets to court on time to tes­tify against an evil Eastern Euro­pean dic­ta­tor (Gary Old­man, ob­vi­ously). It’s full of ac­tion, bick­er­ing, glam­orous lo­ca­tions around Eu­rope, car chases, 12-let­ter swear­words and iron­i­cally de­ployed tunes. But its main draw is its su­per­star pair­ing.

“Some­times you can look at some­one on screen and go, ‘That guy looks like fun,’” says Jack­son. And you get there and the guy is not fun. He is an ass­hole. You think, ‘Wow, this guy is a bet­ter ac­tor than I thought.’ But Ryan was great. It worked out very well.”

Meet­ing with Em­pire in a bou­tique New York ho­tel, the pair settle into an easy, en­ter­tain­ing rou­tine: Jack­son holds court, while Reynolds chips in with smart in­ter­jec­tions. It’s like be­ing in a 3D buddy movie — mi­nus the car chase.

“Mother­fucker” in used a lot in this film. What is the joy of “mother­fucker”? Ryan Reynolds: It has so many syl­la­bles you can roll around in your mouth. Sa­muel L. Jack­son: The Bri­tish don’t use it. Reynolds: It’s like how you use the word “cunt”. Jack­son: When I came to Lon­don to make Rag­time in 1980, it’s how peo­ple knew I was Amer­i­can. I would be at Eus­ton train sta­tion and these foot­ball yobs would start chant­ing

Jack­son: It’s so ver­sa­tile, it de­pends how you say it. It can ex­press anger: “Mother­fucker.” It can con­vey dis­be­lief: [shak­ing head] “Mother­fucker…”

at me [does a good im­pres­sion of a bay­ing foot­ball mob], and I would just be like, “Al­right, moth­er­fuck­ers!” And they’d go, “Oh, he’s Amer­i­can.” Reynolds: I use it most as an ex­pres­sion of pain. [Slowly] “Mother… fucker.”

It can be a term of en­dear­ment: [brightly] “What’s up, mother­fucker?” It’s a verb, an ad­jec­tive, a noun. It can do any­thing.

Reynolds: In fact, the only time you can’t say it is when you are ac­tu­ally fuck­ing your mother. That would be weird.

Mov­ing on. Ryan, there’s noth­ing like this film on your CV…

Reynolds: Right. I’ve been the lead in movies and I’ve been in an en­sem­ble cast, but I’ve never been in a buddy movie. I liked that it was a straight-down-the-bar­rel, pure-bred ac­tion com­edy. No gim­micks, just char­ac­ter and ac­tion.

Jack­son: Also, we were al­lowed to em­bel­lish the char­ac­ters in any way we wanted to, to make them hu­man. When you have two guys sit­ting in a car to­gether, they’ve got to have some­thing that keeps an au­di­ence’s at­ten­tion.

One thing you do in the car is sing. Ryan, you were all over All That She Wants by Ace Of Bass. Reynolds: I made that song ten times worse, which says a lot.

And Sam, you do a ren­di­tion of Lionel Ritchie’s Hello.

Jack­son: Yeah, I ac­tu­ally asked for that song. I called Lionel and he said, “Great, yeah, go ahead.” I didn’t tell him that there’s a big-ass bar fight go­ing on be­hind it where you are see­ing a woman [Salma Hayek] kick­ing ass while singing, “Hello, is it me you’re look­ing for?”

What was it like team­ing up? Jack­son: It was as much fun as I thought it would be.

Reynolds: [To Jack­son] You went with the nice an­swer. It was fun. Chem­istry is not some­thing you can man­u­fac­ture. It’s ei­ther there or it’s not. 

Clock­wise from here: Ryan Reynolds and Sa­muel L. Jack­son buddy up for The Hit­man’s

Bodyguard; Reynolds as bodyguard Michael Bryce; Jack­son’s hit­man Dar­ius Kin­caid with wife So­nia (Salma Hayek); The pair in­dulging in some nun fun; Dar­ius mid-boat chase in Am­s­ter­dam.

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