Self/less is a film about a wealthy man of industry named Damian - played by Ben Kingsley - who's coming to the end of his life and he'd much rather not. Fortunately for him, there's this new thing called "shedding," a newfangled magnetic process by which one transfers their consciousness into a different body. This allows Damian to be younger, healthier, and Ryan Reynolds.
The film is an exploration of individuality and the ethics of immortality vis-a-vis class warfare. It's also a vehicle for suspense and action, as Damian's Ryan Reynolds body is apparently extremely skilled at killing bad guys (we find out that the body used to belong to a soldier named Mark), something that comes in handy when the people who gave it to him come to destroy it.
At the Self/less NYC junket earlier this week, we sat down with Ryan Reynolds and talked about whether or not he'd consider "shedding," what it was like to work opposite Ben Kingsley (sort of), the potential for Deadpool crossing over into X-Men or Wolverine movies, and his preference for superhero movie costumes.
Screen Rant: The major conceit of this movie is "shedding," which is when someone transfers their consciousness into a younger, healthier body to extend their lifespan. I'm just curious - disregarding the negative aspects of that that are depicted in the film, 70 years from now, would you be interested in shedding? Jumping into another body?
No. I don't think so. I mean - life should be kind of a privilege, I think, not necessarily a sentence. Yeah, I can't imagine having to go through it all one more time. Everything you built...I just feel like would be sort of erased. **** that, I don't want to do it again. I'm good with the one time.
In Self/less, Ben Kingsley's character sheds and he jumps into your character's body. You're essentially playing Ben Kingsley inside of yourself -
Not really, because it's a - well, there's a dueling consciousness very quickly when that switch happens. There's Mark and there's Damian. They're sort of fighting it out inside this guy's mind.
Right. Well, my question is, did you do anything to prepare for that? Did you watch, like, Sexy Beast over and over to get into the mind of Ben Kingsley?
I've seen 'Sexy Beast' over and over again, but strictly because I just love that movie.
No, Ben and I spoke early on and decided we weren't going to be doing impressions of each other in any way, shape, or form. It was about trying to capture that essence of being at that crossroads between two completely polarized personalities.
Fair enough. You’ve recently finished shooting Deadpool -
I sure have.
And the big thing in movies now is the shared movie universe, crossovers, that kind of thing. Can we expect to see Deadpool appear in a future X-Men movie or maybe Wolverine?
That’s a damn good question. You tell me. It would be kind of hard, wouldn’t it? Because you have a character - let’s say you have a character who knows he’s in a comic book movie, that sort of breaks the fourth wall [and] has a tendency to kind of say people’s real names instead of their characters’ names. How do you introduce that into another universe that…does not do that? So…I don’t know. I’d be curious to say. I’m not saying that’s not going to happen. I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I would love to see that.
So would I.
You have to be very careful about how you do that because you don’t want to do a disservice to any one of these characters that are beloved by everyone.
Last question. You’ve now played two big superheroes in movies. In Green Lantern, you wore a completely computer-generated costume.
And in Deadpool, you wore an actual physical costume that you...put on your body.
Which of those two costume experiences did you prefer?
Oh, 'Deadpool,' you can’t even compare - I mean, it’s brutal doing a film where you’re wearing a motion capture suit for the whole time. Just as an actor it’s brutal, but like - a lot of people relate to [Deadpool] because he has cancer. So we worked a lot with the Make a Wish Foundation and those kids would come on set, and I loved hosting them. Because when I’d walk out in that suit, you’d watch their minds explode, and that felt amazing.
And that’s something I never really got to experience before because there was no Green Lantern suit. I didn’t even get to see the Green Lantern suit until the first trailer. I never even knew what it looked like. So ['Deadpool'] was a pretty great experience. I love having the tactile, real deal, all the time.
Self/less hits theaters Friday, July 10th, 2015.