The Adam Project director: "We expect Ryan Reynolds to be heroic and funny – but we don’t expect him to make us cry"

The Adam Project
(Image credit: Netflix)

"When we signed up for a time-travel adventure, I’m not sure that either one of us knew it would become one of his greatest dramatic performances of his career," director Shawn Levy tells Total Film in the new issue of the magazine. "The amount of emotional authenticity he brings to this performance... we expect him to be a movie star, heroic and funny. But we don’t expect Ryan Reynolds to make us cry."

It's certainly a surprise hearing that Netflix's upcoming movie The Adam Project features such a dramatic turn from Reynolds, last seen on the streaming service as a comedic crook in Red Notice. Yet, though his latest venture may be a fun, time-traveling escapade that sees his character revisit his youth and his father (played by Mark Ruffalo), Reynolds had a deeply personal connection to the script, especially when it came to plumbing the depths of his own relationship with his father, who passed away in 2020.

"There are lines written in the script that I put there because they’re true," Reynolds says. "There’s a line in the movie that my younger self says: 'I know why you hate [your father]. You’re you because he died.' I think that’s part of the reason I had a frustration with my own father – it’s that he died, and I wasn’t able to say and do the things I wanted to do with him. I wasn’t able to experience all the good parts of him or reconcile some of the bad parts of him. So I think that lands as well."

The Adam Project

(Image credit: Netflix)

He stares down for a beat and then that famous grin breaks across his face. "I mean, when we talk about this, it sounds like it’s this really heady, emotional movie," he laughs. "But it’s a very fun, popcorn, space-time continuum sort of extravaganza. But these stories and that part of it are what make it worth doing."

And after our collective global experience of Covid, it might not just be Reynolds who needs a cathartic experience wrapped up in a ton of fun. "Given the last few years, there’s so many millions of people who have experienced loss or grief," Levy admits. "And this movie doesn’t turn away from that reality, but hopefully offers the possibility of a chapter beyond..."

Above, you can see two exclusive images from The Adam Project, which reaches Netflix on March 11. You can read much more from Reynolds and Levy in the new issue of Total Film, which features The Northman on the cover,  when it hits shelves this Thursday, March 3.

Total Film's The Northman issue

(Image credit: Universal/Total Film)

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(Image credit: Total Film/Universal/Focus Features/Warner Bros/DC)
Editor-in-Chief, Total Film

Jane Crowther is the Editor of Total Film magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Film Group here at Future Plc, which covers Total Film, SFX, and numerous TV and women's interest brands. Jane is also the vice-chair of The Critics' Circle and a BAFTA member. You'll find Jane on GamesRadar+ exploring the biggest movies in the world and living up to her reputation as one of the most authoritative voices on film in the industry. 

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