Mike Davies buddies up with Ryan Reynolds...
Although he'd enjoyed minor success on TV and movie bit parts, Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds' first real shot in the spotlight came with his starring role in 2002's gross out campus comedy Van Wilder Party Liaison.
Since then he's not really looked back, going on to prove the best thing (with a great line in swearing) about the last of the vampire hunter Blade movies and to impress in a straight dramatic turn for the remake of The Amityville Horror.
However, he's back on the comic track for his latest, Just Friends, a slightly belated Christmas comedy in which he plays music business exec Chris Brander who, having been rejected by his high school crush when he was a younger and pudgier (for which he wore a portable sauna fat suit), has grown into a svelte love 'em and leave 'em womaniser with relationship issues.
However, when fate conspires to bring him back home for the holidays and he learns the former unrequited love of his life is still single, he decided to give romance another shot - with inevitably hilarious but bittersweet results.
Engaged to fellow Canadian Alanis Morisette, the 29-year-old actor confesses that he's experienced the whole "just friends" routine first hand.
"I don't know anyone who hasn't experienced that kind of purgatory, the 'just friends' jail cell," he says.
"Mine was a girl in high school. Everyone was in love with her, so I was like her buddy and it was hard. It was hard being her friend. It was hard watching her date other guys that were just dirtbags. So I relate to my character in the film because I was very sensitive in high school, a lot more honest outwardly with people than I have been in my 20s."
What's this, Ryan Reynolds in game playing emotional barriers scenario?
"You get crushed and wounded a little bit," he expands.
"So you learn how to not do that any more. And then hopefully, once you get married and you want to be emotionally intimate, you try to unlearn all you've been defending against."
Owning up to having tried Hollywood relationships without much success (he dated Rachel Leigh Cook for a year), he's also confessed that he's not a particularly big fan of the whole Hollywood self-promotion experience.
"I love performing. I love doing films," he explains.
"But I find doing publicity very strange. I love having conversations with people but it's always hard to be interviewed because it's all so one way. There's a little voice in your head going, 'Wow, it's all about me'. That symbolises the part of Hollywood that scares me."
If facing your fears is the best way of dealing with them, 2006 should see Reynolds undergoing constant therapy. As he reveals, there's a whole stream of projects in the wings.
"There's Smoking Aces, which is Joe Carnahan's follow-up to Narc, very much in the vein of True Romance with a cast that includes Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck and Ray Liotta. And then I'm doing Horrible Bosses with Frank Oz.
"It's one of the funniest things I've ever read. Three friends each work in menial jobs and each have truly horrible bosses, spawn-of-satan kind of guys. So they come up with this hair-brained scheme that if they kill off each other's bosses they'll have an alibi and they'll get away with it.
"That's happening in the spring and I'm also going to be doing Blowback with The Rock. It's a great story about cops in your family and nepotism in the police force. I come from a family of cops and a lot of bits from it are chunks of my own experiences with my father and brother who are both cops and how they relate to one another and to me."
Was there ever a chance Ryan might follow the family trade?
"It was a distant second after acting," he laughs.
"It was a necessity that the acting worked out because I didn't really want to be a cop. My family was fine about it. They're conservative people but they're shockingly open to a lot of stuff."
They may have to be if word about Reynolds' next film is anything to go by.
Titled Waiting, it's set in a diner and he plays the particularly unpleasant ringleader of a bunch of obnoxious bored waiters who take out their frustrations and resentments on the customers. It turns out
Reynolds has paid his own dues waiting tables and taking the abuse, but he owns up having been far too nice a guy to get nasty with the food for revenge.
"I could never bring myself to do it, even though I encountered some pretty hostile people. I just kept thinking, 'What if I was just having a bad day?'
"It's definitely possible that I could have a horrible day and I don't want to be the guy biting into a burger that tastes vaguely like saliva.
"And those people would never know anyway, so what's the point? You'd have to be a pretty profound imbecile to think that you're actually getting one over on somebody by putting something in their food."
* Just Friends opens Jan 6; Waiting is released early 2006. ..SUPL: