Ryan Reynolds has had many challenging roles in his career, but spending 17 days flat on his back playing a man buried alive was unique among them. When I spoke to him on September 20, 2010, he described why he wanted to take it on, how he used the lesson of a skydive gone wrong to inform the performance, and why an enclosed box as a premise can be anything but claustrophbic.
Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, a civilian contractor in Iraq who awakens after an ambush to discover he is buried with only ninety minutes of air and a cell phone for company. What should be a lifeline becomes instead the conduit to a maddening series of hoops he must jump through in order to appease his captors, who want ransom, and both his government and his employer, who are worried about how his situation will reflect back on them. The film was written by Chris Sparling and directed by Roderigo Cortes.
On screen Reynolds has been bullied by Sandra Bullock in THE PROPOSAL, come to terms with a broken marriage in DEFINITELY, MAYBE, fought vampires with wry humor and fabulous abs in BLADE 3, and was a stalwart FBI agent fighting impossible odds, including the witness he’s trying to protect, in SMOKING ACES.