LEAD­ING MAN

Canada’s favourite ex­port talks fra­grance and mod­ern mas­culin­ity.

ELLE (Canada) - - CON­TENTS - By Anna Sil­man

Ryan Reynolds is ush­er­ing in a new era of mas­culin­ity.

RYAN REYNOLDS IS SIT­TING op­po­site me in the 50th-floor pent­house of a Man­hat­tan sky­scraper, where he is pro­mot­ing his new cam­paign for Ar­mani Code Ab­solu cologne, and his first im­pulse is to crack a self-dep­re­cat­ing joke. “This is how we roll here at Ar­mani,” quips Reynolds, ges­tur­ing to the panoramic views below. “I wouldn’t show up if we weren’t on floor 50 or higher. I want to be as lonely as pos­si­ble.” He’s wear­ing a pair of dorky plas­tic-rimmed glasses and a navy sweater, and it feels like the ac­tor, who most re­cently brought his sar­donic su­per­hero al­ter ego to life in the Dead­pool fran­chise, would be more com­fort­able ban­ter­ing over brewskis than dis­cussing up­scale fra­grances in a lux­ury suite. But that is ex­actly why Ar­mani chose Reynolds for its new cologne, which is de­signed to em­body a “new model of mas­culin­ity”—one in which hu­mour and irony are, ev­i­dently, es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents. Over the course of our con­ver­sa­tion, we chat about Reynolds’ foray into the fra­grance world, his up­com­ing film projects and his Cana­dian West Coast roots—his so­cial me­dia han­dle is @vanci­tyreynolds, af­ter all. His sense of hu­mour bodes well when he hears his daugh­ters, James (4) and Inez (2), chat­ter­ing in the room next to us.

Or, as he puts it, “I’m go­ing to slip next door and see what’s on fire.”

I’ve been sent to give you the Van­cou­ver light­ning round. First off: Who is your favourite Canuck?

“Oh, man! I don’t know. Maybe Stan Smyl. That’s an oldie but a goodie. Got to be over 40 to know that one.”

Go-to White Spot or­der?

“I may have at one point been quoted as say­ing that I wanted to be buried in Triple O sauce.”

Favourite sushi spot?

“This is kind of where ev­ery­one goes in Van­cou­ver, but I like Tojo’s. I do have to say, though, that I love Toronto [as a city], which I know is kind of a weird thing to say for a Van­cou­verite.”

I’m pretty sure it’s trea­sonous.

“I know! I could be dis­barred, in what­ever fash­ion you can be dis­barred in Van­cou­ver with­out a law de­gree. But I’ve spent a ton of time in Toronto and shot so many movies there that it feels a lit­tle bit like home.”

Tell me about the new Ar­mani cologne.

“I can never talk about these things with the same kind of dis­arm­ing ap­ti­tude that the guys who cre­ate them can, but I love a scent that is warm and ap­proach­able and doesn’t over­whelm the user. For me, that is what Ar­mani Code Ab­solu em­bod­ies. I dug it for that. I also [liked] that this huge, iconic brand was re­ally up for try­ing some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.”

Right—the new cam­paign is all about mod­ern mas­culin­ity and the rise of a dif­fer­ent, more pro­gres­sive and egal­i­tar­ian mode of courtship. Is that some­thing you are per­son­ally in­vested in?

“I grew up in a house­hold where my dad cer­tainly had as­pects of toxic mas­culin­ity that I think my broth­ers and I found a bit off-putting at an early age. We had a great ex­am­ple of what not to do in a lot of in­stances. I love the idea of mod­ern mas­culin­ity and how it’s evolv­ing. Vacil­lat­ing power dy­nam­ics are im­por­tant in ev­ery re­la­tion­ship—not just ro­man­tic ones but across the board. It’s bet­ter for ev­ery­one.”

How does that come into play in your re­la­tion­ship with your wife [Blake Lively]?

“It would shock you how many things [Blake] and I de­fer to, and rely on, each other for. When the per­son you are mar­ried to is also your friend, it’s a pretty lucky sce­nario. I think that’s what a re­la­tion­ship is. You com­ple­ment each other in dy­namic ways and help each other grow.”

You have spo­ken about how you don’t re­ally feel com­fort­able in the typ­i­cal lead­ing-man archetype, yet iron­i­cally the suc­cess of the Dead­pool movies has el­e­vated you to that stature. How do you bal­ance that con­tra­dic­tion?

“Dead­pool does what a lot of movies right now are do­ing: They sub­vert them­selves. The idea of the mod­ern lead­ing man is ever evolv­ing and chang­ing. There are a lot of lead­ing men in 2019, and lead­ing women, who are also char­ac­ter ac­tors, and I think that’s great. For me, I’ve never felt com­fort­able in that clas­si­cally hy­per-mas­cu­line lead­ing-man role. I’ve never been com­fort­able be­ing the type of man who is in­ter­mit­tently clench­ing his jaw mus­cles and squint­ing for no rea­son and speak­ing in a deep, grav­elly voice. It doesn’t suit me, and I don’t suit it and never will. But play­ing with that in weird ways and laugh­ing at my­self—that works for me.”

Tell me about your up­com­ing project,

Poké­mon De­tec­tive Pikachu, out this month.

“I haven’t ac­tu­ally played [the game] Poké­mon! I read the script and fell in love with this fun story of ad­ven­ture, and then it was this crazy-dif­fi­cult learn­ing curve to ed­u­cate my­self on as much of that world as I pos­si­bly could.”

Why is it im­por­tant for you to pro­duce your own work, as you’re do­ing with the Dead­pool fran­chise?

“It’s im­por­tant to have some say in shap­ing your des­tiny. I adore col­lab­o­ra­tion, so if some­one else has a bet­ter idea of how to do some­thing—i don’t care what your role is on the film set— let’s do it. Best idea wins. With Dead­pool, I’m so in­trin­si­cally linked to the char­ac­ter that I love hav­ing some role in what it shapes up to be on the big screen. I love writ­ing it, I love pro­duc­ing it, I love star­ring in it, I love mar­ket­ing it. So it’s kind of an all-en­com­pass­ing and lifeswal­low­ing but awe­some job.”

Per­fumer An­toine Maisondieu used notes of rum, vanilla and tonka bean to craft the sen­sual new Ar­mani Code Ab­solu Eau de Cologne Spray ($112 for 60 ml). For de­tails, see Shop­ping Guide.

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