Monday, September 20, 2010

Becoming Green Lantern

An oddly melancholy interview with Ryan Reynolds appears in the forthcoming issue of GQ, in which he describes his motion capture suit as "made of actual woven misery", and which describes his workout system in some detail. I mentioned this article to my personal trainer, who said, "if that's what you really want, there's a lot of work to be done...grilled chicken...tilapia...back to chicken." That's what you eat if you want to be Ryan Reynolds.

His remarkable torso was first developed during rehearsals for Blade: Trinity, the unsatisfying continuation of Wesley Snipes's vampire series. "Everything went so horribly wrong on that set," he remembers, though he still takes some pride in the film's most celebrated linguistic invention ("you cock-juggling thundercunt"). At least Blade: Trinity gave him the body. He worked out for six months beforehand. "It was like a project. I just did everything they told me to."

Right now he has that body again. ­Reynolds is at pains to point out that this isn't his natural, or permanent, way of being, just something he is currently doing for the third time, for Green Lantern, after Blade: Trinity and The Proposal. (Precisely why a New York publishing assistant—his character in The Proposal—should have, or need, this level of muscular definition is unclear, other than that he is the star of a movie that will often find him partially or fully unclothed in Sandra Bullock's company.) "It was a strange sort of sleight-of-hand trick I learned—I could do it again if I needed to and get there faster if I needed to."

On the Green Lantern set, I watch him eat his usual plate of steamed chicken, salmon, broccoli, carrots, and rice. On the kitchen counter of the house he rents in New Orleans is a huge jar of a white powder called Isolyze, primarily whey protein. Wherever he is, he snacks on these orange bars called Zero Impact Pumpkin Supremes—"sort of like a pumpkin made out of cinder block," he quips. It takes his co-star to spell out the full grim reality of his commitment. "If you saw him coming to work at five in the morning, when I could barely open my eyes and he'd been up for two hours in the gym…," says Lively. "If everyone had that discipline, they, too, could have abs of steel."
If you'd rather have his playlist, that's easier. A lot of acoustic guitar-y, happy-sad music, and unsurprisingly, a bunch of his wife's music:

On a whim, I ask to see his most-played list on his iTunes. Top—with 456 plays—is "World Spins Madly On," by the Weepies. The rest of the top ten, all of which have more than 150 plays: Gomez's "See the World," the Be Good Tanyas' "Ootischenia," Magnet's "Duracellia," the Damnwells' "Jesus Could Be Right" and "For My Own Good," and four songs from the National: "Green Gloves," "Start a War," "About Today," and "City Middle." For contrast, I ask him to show me what has had twenty-five plays, a list that includes songs by CocoRosie, the Eels, Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," and three songs by his wife.

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