In hindsight, Ryan Reynolds should’ve known better than to ask the Greatest Showman for performance tips.
The Deadpool actor revealed that he tapped his longtime “nemesis” Hugh Jackman — who is currently marching down Broadway in The Music Man — for guidance on how to sing and dance for Spirited, his new Christmas musical with Will Ferrell. But the results didn’t exactly fill Reynolds up with holiday cheer.
“It comes so naturally to Hugh that, in a weird way, his helping was not helping,” Reynolds said in an interview with The Big Issue. “He was like, ‘Just make sure you’re listening to those count-offs and those beats’. And I was like, ‘I don’t hear the beats, man. Help me out with something real here!'”
Monica Schipper/Getty for Netflix Hugh Jackman’s attempts to reach Ryan Reynolds how to dance for his holiday film ‘Spirited’ totally backfired.
The best lesson Jackman taught him didn’t actually take place on the dance floor, but rather over a cup of coffee. “He reminded me of something that is so vital with almost anything that you’re doing in the arts,” Reynolds recalled. “He said, ‘Just remember to enjoy it, because if you’re enjoying it, we’ll enjoy it.'”
He continued, “That was something that I constantly reminded myself. Even when I felt so out of my depth, which was almost every day, I kept reminding myself that this is an opportunity of a lifetime. And it actually extended well beyond this project into other aspects of my life. So that was pretty good advice.”
Reynolds is no stranger to learning choreography — just check out any of his gleefully gruesome Deadpool fight scenes — but the actor maintains that dance routines were an entirely different kind of evil.
“Training for a superhero movie is something I’ve been doing since I was 20, and I’m 46 now,” he said. “Doing a fight sequence is in my bones. I memorize them very fast. I can make a mistake and use that mistake to my advantage in the moment. Whereas dancing, if I make one mistake, I completely fall apart.”
In a way, the Apple TV+ film was just what Reynolds needed to push himself out of his comfort zone.
“The great gift about getting older is you become more and more comfortable with sucking at something,” he said. “The more comfortable I am at sucking at something, the better I become at that thing. If I’m looking through the lens of, this has to have perfection right off the bat, it becomes a law of diminishing returns. When you allow yourself to be bad at something, it really gives yourself permission to be good at it as well.”
Reynolds added, “[In Spirited], I wasn’t trying to be the best singer on the planet. I was trying to be the best singer I could possibly be. And that’s it. And that’s all I can do. I can’t really control much else.”
Based on Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale A Christmas Carol, the movie follows Reynolds’ character Clint Briggs, an “unredeemable” curmudgeon who runs a controversial social media company, as he’s visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ferrell) and forced to sing and dance his way through an unforgettably jolly journey.
Spirited is streaming now on Apple TV+. Meanwhile, Reynolds and Jackman will reunite on screen in the upcoming third Deadpool installment, which is set to hit theaters Nov. 8, 2024.
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