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A bodyguard and an as­sas­sin are thrown to­gether

Life & Style Weekend - - SCREEN LIFE - With Seanna Cronin

BE­FORE he re­turns as foul-mouthed hero Dead­pool, Ryan Reynolds is team­ing up with Sa­muel L Jack­son in the ac­tion film The Hit­man’s Bodyguard.

Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, the world’s top bodyguard who must pro­tect a hit man about to tes­tify at a trial at the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice.

In this Q&A he talks about the tri­als of movie mak­ing and fi­nally work­ing with Sa­muel L Jack­son.

Q: Can you tell us about your char­ac­ter Michael Bryce?

A: Michael Bryce is a sort of top-tier ex­ec­u­tive pro­tec­tion agent. He is a guy that would be ba­si­cally as­signed to for­eign dig­ni­taries, and as­signed to peo­ple who are at the top of the crim­i­nal un­der­ground. So he’s a guy who kind of suf­fers from a lot of hubris and he has this ide­alised im­age and ro­man­ti­cised im­age of him­self in his mind, that he is a triple-A rated sort of best of the best of the best kind of guy, which be­comes star­tlingly un­true to him as we move for­ward through the film. But Michael Bryce, when we first meet him, he is at the top of his game and shortly after that, he is at the bot­tom of his game.

Q: The Hit­man’s Bodyguard was on the pres­ti­gious black­list (the an­nual list of pop­u­lar un­pro­duced scripts) for a bit. Did you know about it then?

A: Yeah, I read it years ago when it was at Para­mount and then it kicked around for awhile and came back to me again. It’s al­ways weird when you read some­thing from one point in your life and then you read it again many years later and I said yeah, let’s do the movie! And then I read the script and it was like, oh my gosh, this is re­ally se­ri­ous. The orig­i­nal draft was great, (screen­writer) Tom Con­nor wrote it, but just be­fore we were set to start shoot­ing, we jumped in there and gave it this re­ally light pass, par­tic­u­larly with Sam’s voice, giv­ing it a lot more bois­ter­ous at­ti­tude and giv­ing Bryce a bit more as the dis­grun­tled sort of straight man to Kinkaid’s (Sa­muel L Jack­son) kind of wild, anti-hero.

Q: To be able to go in and work­shop this film to the ver­sion we see on the screen, is that some­thing that you learned from work­ing on Dead­pool?

A: Ev­ery­thing that I learned from Dead­pool I threw out or took to mean it as a hard les­son learned be­cause I worked on Dead­pool for nearly 11 years and didn’t get it made, so I thought it must be me. I was in the worst re­la­tion­ship I was ever in, on again, off again (laughs). But in retrospect I look back and I go yeah, I started as an im­prov co­me­dian, and that was 24 years ago. But you al­ways need to do that and work­shop things in cer­tain spe­cific ways and it just de­pends on the film. And some­times you will work with a film­maker who is very at­tached to the ma­te­rial as writ­ten and you have to re­spect that when you sign on. This was not that sit­u­a­tion. We had Pa­trick Hughes, who also jumped in late in the game as well and he re­placed the pre­vi­ous di­rec­tor. But he was up for any­thing, he just wanted to see a big, fun ac­tion movie with some spec­ta­cle and some laughs and that is what we all kind of hud­dled up to give him.

Q: Did you and Sam have to spend a lit­tle time to gen­er­ate the chem­istry on screen?

A: You are hard pressed to not have met Sam Jack­son at some point in your Hol­ly­wood so­journ, just be­cause he is ubiq­ui­tous, the guy is ev­ery­where. He’s prob­a­bly one of the hard­est-work­ing men in show busi­ness, I would put him up there with The Rock and Kevin Hart, these guys that never put it down, they just go, go, go, and I don’t know where he finds the en­ergy. Sam and I had only worked on an an­i­mated film be­fore so we knew each other from do­ing the press rounds on that. But we had never shot a film to­gether. So this is our first time, and there was a nat­u­ral chem­istry there that was in­her­ent right from the get-go.

The Hit­man’s Bodyguard opens on Thurs­day.


Sa­muel L Jack­son and Ryan Reynolds in a scene from The Hit­man’s Bodyguard.

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