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Shared Darkness

A Communal Life in Film, Examined

Ryan Reynolds, In Triplicate

Ryan Reynolds got his start as a child actor on Canadian television,
and then, straddling the new millennium, spent the better part of four
seasons making small swatches of ABC’s Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place
bearable. It’s no great stretch, then, for him to play a TV
writer-creator… well, it wouldn’t be, really, except in just about any
other project than The Nines.

The Nines
is a flawed film, maybe what some would even call a failure, but it’s
getting a raw deal at the box office, not the least of which because
it’s a movie with an indefatigable curiosity one finds in few mainstream modern films. Set in and around Hollywood, the movie is a labyrinthine, very loosely autobiographical tale of
creativity, collapse and emotional and spiritual responsibility
. It
features three actors (Reynolds, Hope Davis and Melissa McCarthy)
playing three parts apiece in three different stories, roles that sort
of overlap but, apart from their place within discrete narratives, may
or may not have something to do with one another. Reynolds is the
front-and-center star, playing a self-destructive actor, a videogame
designer/family man and the aforementioned small screen
multi-hyphenate, the character most directly based on August. “It’s really a difficult movie to logline,” concedes Reynolds during a recent spate of interviews for the film,
sporting a beard that he characterizes as his own personal salute to
lethargy
. “Most people want to kind of grab onto what they think is the
hook, which is that you play three different people in one movie. And
[that’s] not really a hook, it’s actually part of the story.”

“It’s not done in this indulgent, vain kind of way,” he continues. “But… even my parents say, ‘Ooh, that’s
the one where you play three different people, I can’t wait to see
that!’ My mother’s like Marge Simpson
. It’s a difficult thing to
explain; I usually just say it’s three separate stories that interlock
in mysterious ways.” For the full feature interview, from FilmStew, click here.