Ryan Reynolds isn’t just a beloved Canadian actor with a penchant for humour of the quick-wit and sarcastic variety, he’s also been named one of Fast Company’s ‘Most Creative People in Business for 2020.’ The man can act and sell gin, it would seem (to the chagrin of Hugh Jackman’s coffee company, we imagine). But, all jokes aside, he also isn’t afraid to participate in the tough conversations around racial equality that are (rightly) taking over the zeitgeist in 2020. A point which became abundantly clear when he sat down with Fast Company
to talk about Deadpool
, marketing, diversity and, notably, he and Blake Lively’s regret over their plantation wedding.For those who need a refresher, Reynolds and Lively tied the knot in 2012 at Boone Hall, an antebellum-era plantation in South Carolina, which describes itself as "one of America's oldest working plantations." Later, in 2018, Reynolds came under fire on Twitter after praising the movie, Black Panther
. The post, which quickly went viral, had fans pointing out the actor’s perceived hypocrisy, as well as a lack of judgement exercised in the selection of their wedding venue. Speaking with Fast Company, Reynolds addressed the controversy head on. “It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for. It’s impossible to reconcile," he said. "What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy.”Reynolds continued on to explain that, years later, he and Lively got married again at home, but it didn’t excuse or dismiss their past complicity. “Shame works in weird ways. A giant f—king mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn’t mean you won’t f--- up again. But re-patterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end."[video_embed id='1986852']WATCH: Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donate $200K to Indigenous women’s program in Canada.[/video_embed]Reynolds and Lively have been vocal throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, each taking to their respective social media platforms to support the cause. They’ve also acknowledged the shame they feel for, in the past, “allowing themselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.”
Last year, the couple each donated $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. In late May, Reynolds and Lively contributed once again, this time donating another $200,0000 to the Defense Fund. In the interview, Reynolds also spoke candidly about the need for diversity in Hollywood, explaining that “representation and diversity need to be completely immersive.” Continuing on he noted, “It needs to be embedded at the root of storytelling, and that’s in both marketing and Hollywood. When you add perspective and insight that isn’t your own, you grow. And you grow your company, too.”This inspired the Deadpool
actor to create the Group Effort Initiative, which aims to bring people of colour and other marginalized or otherwise underrepresented groups to work alongside experienced professionals on his next movie. In a video shared to social media, Reynolds explained that the film industry has “systematically excluded Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and a whole host of other marginalized communities for far too long”.
Reynolds’s next film, a sci-fi comedy titled Free Guy
is set to release in December. In the movie, the actor will star as a “minor video-game character who starts to think for himself” — a role which Reynolds insists shows vulnerability you don’t often see from big screen ‘heroes.’[video_embed id='1931357']WATCH: Ryan Reynolds made a special online appearance at Toronto's Sick Kids hospital.[/video_embed]