Reynolds and Fisher Team Up to Talk ‘Definitely, Maybe’
Ryan Reynolds (Smokin’ Aces) and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) star in the Universal Pictures romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe hitting theaters on February 14th (otherwise known as Valentine’s Day). Reynolds plays a guy on the verge of divorce who talks candidly about the loves of his life with his 10-year-old daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin). As he relives his past romances, Maya learns all about the three woman who left quite an impression on her dad. But as he tells her about his past, he leaves out the real names of the women he’s discussing. Maya then has to figure out if her mother is the dependable Emily (Elizabeth Banks) or a free-spirited journalist (Rachel Weisz).
Although the film’s generally referred to as a romantic comedy, the Definitely, Maybe co-stars see it as something a little different. Just because it’s from the Working Title production company, a firm that knows its way around the genre, doesn’t mean audiences will be able to guess every move before the characters make them. “This is a different style of movie to anything Working Title has made before,” explained Fisher. “It isn’t in the sense that it’s a romantic comedy, but it is in the sense that it’s sort of a whodunit as well, and that it’s very plot-driven and it takes place over a period of time. I didn’t feel like we were doing anything cliché, I felt like we were doing something new.”
Reynolds totally concurs with Fisher’s description of the film. “I think that the strongest producers know exactly what they want and that’s something that Working Title had from the outset. As Isla said, the movie’s a romantic whodunit so it’s definitely something that’s a little bit different than seeing something like Bridget Jones’s Diary. The narrative is a little bit more fractured and I think it’s a little bit more fun for the viewer,” said Reynolds. “I mean, this movie doesn’t have all the typical romantic comedy conventions. There isn’t the big montage and the typically saccharine ending.”
Reynolds and Fisher know what they’re talking about when it comes to romantic comedies. Both actors have a batch of romantic comedies on their resumes. And while Reynolds mixes up his workload by taking on more dramatic roles, he likes returning to comedies when the script is right. “I think that great comedies have drama and I think great dramas have comedy in them. So the two are pretty well mixed usually. I mean at least for movies that I love so I never felt like I completely left it behind,” said Reynolds.
Fisher found a lot she could relate to in the character of April. “I related to my character in that she was kind of a nomad who didn’t have a strong sense of her own identity. I felt like that when I was in my early 20s. She’s someone who is also afraid of love, and I definitely was like that when I was younger. But other than that, I thought it was a real departure for me to play this apolitical girl.”
“I can relate to being young and idealistic in the sense that the whole world is new and there’s a kind of innocence that you know you really never get back again,” said Reynolds on getting into the mindset of playing a man in his 20s preparing to take on the world. “You know, I can relate to having first loves and feeling like this is the one and this is it for me, and how life throws you a number of different curveballs along the way, and things change and you grow up. It’s a beautiful thing and a sad thing, and it’s something that I feel like I’ve experienced and been experiencing my whole life.”
Because the film takes place over a decade, we see these characters change both in attitudes and appearances. Reynolds credited the production design with helping to keep the actors on track. “The movie goes from 1992 to 2008 so really, I mean you look around you and you just sort of feel it and see it, that you’re actually surrounded by 1992 or ’94 or ’98. It really kind of helped you get into the role and get into the moments that you’re supposed to play,” said Reynolds.
“The make-up team put this incredible sort of silicone and fabric under your eye and it wrinkles it up. You really do look in your 30s or in Ryan’s case, in his 80s,” joked Fisher, prompting Reynolds to respond, “What they did for me was they just didn’t put makeup on each day and that’s what aged me.”
New York plays almost as big a role as the flesh and blood actors in Definitely, Maybe, although Reynolds didn’t get the chance to see much of it while working on the movie. “Living, breathing, sleeping, never partying,” Reynolds said of his time spent in New York. “It’s a town that never sleeps but we had to work every day. I had to work every day. I’m in every scene in the movie so my experience with New York was the inside of a panel van usually at around 6 in the morning. My driver’s name was Reggie.”
Off screen, Reynolds and Fisher are the perfect tag team when it comes to answering questions about their film. Complimenting his co-star, Reynolds compared her to, of all things, motor oil. “Isla is the engine called comedy in Definitely, Maybe and that engine is using Castrol Syntec oil which is, as you know, one of the best motor oils ever in the 10 weight category.”
“Isla, the one thing I think she’s known for besides being smart, funny and beautiful, is that she tells the truth,” added Reynolds. “She tells it like it is. And that, I think, is a dying industry in this world.”
Spreading a little love Reynolds’ way, Fisher said, “Ryan just smolders and it’s very easy to work with someone when you have a natural chemistry.”
Writer/director Adam Brooks allowed his cast to play with the script, which was a huge treat for Reynolds and Fisher who both like to improvise. Reynolds said, “It’s a big part of the game. I mean a lot of times you’ll get a line that doesn’t quite work for you so you have to do another one. Particularly with Isla, we kind of have a synergy that I haven’t had that much or that often with anybody for that matter, so it’s great when you get somebody that you can really do it with, you know? Because you can’t just improvise alone. You need somebody that can obviously do it with you.”