The irony of Ryan Reynolds’ sudden career renaissance is that it came thanks to a superhero movie, the same genre that nearly sunk his career five years ago. Prior to the release of the critically acclaimed Deadpool, the once bankable Reynolds was still recovering from a series of flops, most notably, Green Lantern, DC’s ill-fated superhero romp that many believed would cement Reynolds' place atop Hollywood’s leading man hierarchy. Instead, the film was savaged by critics, tanked at the box office, and left its star with a five-year career hangover.
So, why was Deadpool able to succeed where Green Lantern couldn’t? While speaking to Entertainment Weekly—which recently named Reynolds their 2016 “Entertainer of The Year"—the actor gave what amounted to an autopsy on the most infamous movie of his career:
“Well it’s simple: Deadpool always knew what it was. With Green Lantern, I don’t think anyone ever figured out exactly what it was. That isn’t to say the hundreds of men and women didn’t work their fingers to the bone to make it as good as possible. It also fell victim to the process in Hollywood which is like poster first, release date second, script last. At the time, it was a huge opportunity for me so I was excited to try and take part in it.”
Reynolds also revealed that prior to signing on for Green Lantern, he wrote a letter to Fox in an effort to get the studio to green light a Deadpool movie, something that had been a passion project for him ever since he played the masked superhero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. “I asked one last time sort of like the groom standing at the alter, ‘Will you please be my wife?’ and they said they couldn’t pull the trigger on Deadpool,” Reynolds said. “For too many reasons too boring to illustrate, it just didn’t work.”
To say that Deadpool eventually did work would be a massive understatement. The film—thanks to a clever combination of R-rated humor and ultra-violent action sequences—was a massive phenomenon following its February release, and went on to become the fifth highest grossing film of the year. And, with its hotly anticipated (and somewhat troubled) sequel expected next year, Reynolds can officially put the Green Lantern fiasco to bed once and for all.