Ryan Reynolds maintains a public persona that would lead most to believe he doesn’t have a care in the world. That he’s perpetually on the cusp of dropping an acerbic gag so cutting that even the poor sod it’s aimed at can’t help but laugh.
Take this video that’s doing the rounds at the moment, in which Reynolds is interviewed by his bitter twin brother (hint: himself)...
But Reynolds isn’t a comedy superman constantly overflowing with LOLs. In a recent interview with GQ, the 40-year-old actor spoke about a ‘nervous breakdown’ he endured shortly after finishing filming for Deadpool, and ongoing battles with anxiety.
Following clashes with studio bosses over the comic book film, Reynolds’ personal obsession with pursuing a film adaptation for the comic book character was vindicated when it smashed expectations.
“When the Thursday midnight numbers were so excessive that I just went, "Whoa." We made our production budget back on Friday. There's a certain vindication that comes with that, especially because the studio—granted, under different regimes—for years just kept telling us to go fuck ourselves sterile… it was almost like the more Fox took away from us, the stronger we got. There's two moments of the movie where I forget my ammo bag. That's not because Deadpool's forgetful. That's because we couldn't afford the guns that we were about to use in the scene.
“I felt like I was on some schooner in the middle of a white squall the whole time. It just never stopped. When it ﬁnally ended, I had a little bit of a nervous breakdown. I literally had the shakes. I went to go see a doctor because I felt like I was suffering from a neurological problem or something. And every doctor I saw said, ‘You have anxiety.’”
“I say this with the caveat that I completely recognise the ridiculously fortunate position that I am in. But the attention is hard on your nervous system—that might be why I live out in the woods. And I was banging the loudest drum for Deadpool. I wasn't just trying to open it; I was trying to make a cultural phenomenon.”
Reynolds went on to discuss that dealing with anxiety issues – and discussing the subject openly – has become easier over time.
“I never wanted to reveal too much. Even now I'm a little nervous, because you're having a conversation with somebody, and you could say something that either (a) just exposes your utter explosive ignorance about any given subject or (b) could be misinterpreted. I used to just shut down, like, ‘Okay, only crack jokes and cover the subject at hand in a very kind of cursory way.’ But I've embraced the fact that I'm smart. I've embraced the fact that I'm an idiot. I've embraced the fact that I'm funny. If this were ﬁve, four, three years ago even, I wouldn't have been like, ‘Come on in to my home, meet the baby.’ It's all human life. Take it or leave it.”
But that’s not to say that Reynolds has now conquered anxiety, that he’s a happier man than ever. He’s just learnt how to gain perspective on it.
“The needle doesn't move as much as you think it does—I really think that people just come down the chute a certain way. There's this idea that when somebody's just a miserable son of a bitch and they win the lottery, they're ecstatic for like six months, but when you catch up to them a year down the line, they're still a pessimistic person. And when a super-happy optimist loses everything in life, they just sort of figure it out and go back to their baseline. My baseline's pretty good, I think, aside from a few pretty intense anxiety hiccups over my life. I wouldn't say I'm quantifiably happier now than I was when I lived in my shithole studio apartment on Wilcox in Hollywood. I'm also old enough to understand what's an illusion and what's real, and that it's foolish to try to think that I can control anything from here on out.”
Here’s to you Ryan – you intensely attractive, talented, funny man.