Ryan Reynolds loves B.C.
And B.C. loves him right back.
The A-list Hollywood actor and businessman was awarded the Order of British Columbia Wednesday by B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin in a private investiture ceremony in Vancouver.
After the ceremony Reynolds spoke exclusively to Postmedia about the honour, growing up a B.C. boy, his business philosophy and, of course, Deadpool.
“There’s a surreal aspect to this that isn’t lost on me at all,” said the 47-year-old Reynolds.
“There is an element to this that feels a little bit like St. Peter at the gate and looking back at your life and watching only highlights, no lowlights which is kind of nice. I appreciate St. Peter’s editing. So, there’s that aspect, but it’s just an incredible honour to be recognized by my home. I don’t know a more succinct way to put it. This is a homecoming in every sense. I was pretty moved listening to those folks talk about me as if I can’t hear them.”
Premier David Eby was also at the ceremony and presented the Deadpool star with the Certificate of Appointment.
“His clear demonstration of his character through action, supporting people who are less fortunate, being a kind, generous person and using his profile to advance good causes is what we would hope for everybody that has a position like his,” Eby said.
“As a father of a couple of kids, to know there are positive high-profile influencers like Mr. Reynolds in the world makes me glad.”
The former Kitsilano High School student said the province remains part of his story. He and his wife, actor Blake Lively, have discussed moving here with their four children.
“We’ve been — I guess I could characterize it as — subtly looking for a while,” he said about relocating from Westchester County, N.Y.
“Thankfully my wife is obsessed with Vancouver and the food scene in Vancouver. I’m obsessed with the childhood that I was given and how privileged that was to grow up in a place like Vancouver, which I think has imbued tenants that I have taken and carried with me throughout my entire career. … It has really given me the tools to process and deal with a lot of the things maybe some of my peers maybe have slightly more maladaptive coping mechanisms to deal with.”
It also gave him a deep love for a local food staple.
“I eat a lot of salmon. I always have, always will,” Reynolds said of his most characteristic B.C. trait.
With the actors (SAG/AFTRA) now having a tentative agreement with the studios (AMPTP), Reynolds was headed to England to work on Deadpool 3, which had shut down due to the strike in mid-July and is halfway through its shooting schedule.
What he wouldn’t confirm are any rumours about Lively’s best pal Taylor Swift making an appearance in the film.
“Yeah, I’ve heard that one,” said Reynolds laughing. “I love it (the gossip). I think it is a sign of how eager people are to get a peek behind the curtain in this world. Every single one of these secrets and spoilers will be revealed on July 26.”
With the next instalment shooting in England, Reynolds said he “fought like hell” to shoot the third Deadpool here.
With the industry rocking purchase of 21st Century Fox by Disney in 2019, Reynolds said “they have their infrastructure, and you just have to sort of fall in line. To a certain degree I understand that, but I miss home.”
While the strike stalled his film career, Reynolds filled his time with family and a lucrative business career that included ownership of Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile, as well as big stakes in marketing company Maximum Effort, 1Password software and Wealthsimple.
He also is co-owner of the Welsh football club Wrexham — which Reynolds says will be back on TV for a third season of Welcome to Wrexham next March — and F1 Team Alpine.
He says his business life is informed by his creative life.
“I do see it all as storytelling. There is a creativity behind branding and those kinds of things,” said Reynolds.
“I also tend to focus on things that are accessible. Many of my colleagues and peers in my original business of entertainment are in ambassadorial roles for luxury items or items that are aspirational and we’ve tended to focus on things that tend to be, well, anti-aspirational. More in the world of practical.
Joining Reynolds on Wednesday for the ceremony was his mother Tammy and his brothers Jeff, Terry, and Patrick.
“It’s just beautiful to have the whole family here and to celebrate Ryan,” said his mother. “I’m very proud of him as I am with all four boys.”
Reynolds and Lively support numerous charities and causes, including North American food banks, Covenant House Vancouver, Ukrainian refugees and Water First, which provides Indigenous Canadians with clean water.
“Yes, Ryan is a good actor, he’s got the ability. I don’t know where he got it from, it wasn’t me, but you know he is a great role model,” his mother said.
“That’s what makes me so happy. … He is a humanitarian and a role model and I’m just so proud of him for that. He makes a difference in the world.”
Tomorrow: In part two of our interview, Reynolds reflects on growing up in Vancouver, getting back to work after the actors’ strike and offers advice to young actors.
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