We talk to Hollywood’s wittiest superhero about saving Samuel L Jackson’s butt, staying spandex-ready for Deadpool 2, and taking care of business into his forties, and beyond
Reynolds has turned 40 since he last spoke to MH, though he shows no sign of seeing it as a millstone around his neck. Nor would he be in a hurry to turn back the clock. “I’d never want to go back to my twenties,” he says. “Then it felt like I was stringing moments of gigantic uncertainty back to back. Now I’m 40, I’m a lot more understanding of myself. I have more compassion for myself – and for others. So I’m happy to be the age I am.”
Maybe that’s why, having laboured tirelessly to reach a high point in a career that’s had its ups and downs, he’s able to keep his feet on the ground. “I don’t want to sound like a fortune cookie, but I think you define success by a certain level of happiness,” he says. “I would say I have a very similar sense of wellbeing to when I was younger and less successful. Even when I was driving a forklift. As long as I can do some form of work that brings me some joy, I feel like I’ll be okay. I define success as allowing yourself to be happy. Because it’s easy to disallow that.”
And there’s always his other job: being a dad. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to me, and I don’t take a second of it for granted,” he says, as sincerely as he apologises. “I’m also really lucky: my work is intense for periods, but then I can also take time off, and a lot of people can’t. So I’m grateful for that. I love watching my kids grow and evolve, and I hope that I get to do that for a huge amount of their lives. Until they kick me out.”
Age Of Content
Reynolds has been suiting up for Deadpool 2, which is to say getting into the shape required to squeeze back into spandex. Is it easier the second time around because he knows what it takes? Or harder because he knows how much it’s going to hurt? “It’s a little of both. But it changes – sometimes it happens faster than I would think and other times slower,” he says. “I think that’s a byproduct of injuries and age: when I was 25, I could do it in a relatively short amount of time; now I’m 40, I have to be slightly more careful. I actually warm up now, which is something that I got away without doing for about 15 years. Now I’m like an old man at the gym, laying on rollers and softballs.”
Once again, Reynolds worked with his trainer of eight years, Don Saladino, who also trains fellow Marvel universe luminary Sebastian ‘The Winter Soldier’ Stan. Well, technically Reynolds doesn’t train with Saladino. “Don doesn’t travel with me, so I use his online stuff,” he says. “They’re programs anyone can do.” ‘Anyone’ includes Reynolds himself, who cracked his neck when he was thrown out of a window during the making of 2012’s ironically named Safe House. “I couldn’t deadlift or squat a lot because it compressed my neck,” he recalls. “Don got me back doing those, which I’m happy about.” According to Saladino, Reynolds practically skips to legs day.