Interview | Ryan Reynolds Discusses The Voices
One of the highlights of this year’s Sundance London film festival was undoubtedly The Voices. The fourth feature from Iranian director Marjane Satrapi, it stars an on-form Ryan Reynolds as a disturbed factory worker who hallucinates his cat telling him to be a serial killer.
On behalf of This is Fake DIY, I was at the O2 last week for the film’s Sundance London premiere, and I quizzed the leading man and the director on voice acting, intense scenes, and the film’s show-stopping musical number. Have a read below.
Amon Warmann: I loved the film and as I was watching I was asking myself who is doing the voices for the cat and dog. I was so impressed to find out that it was you – how did you go about creating the voices for those characters?
Ryan Reynolds: They were trying to cast the dog and the cat and they weren’t able to find the right person and one day I thought I could do that. So I grabbed my iPhone and recorded a scene between Jerry the dog and the cat and I sort of seamlessly jumped back and forth between each character and sent it to them and the next day I was hired. It was based on people I know so it wasn’t difficult to play.
AW: There’s a great song at the end of the film which I haven’t been able to get out of my head since, and I was thinking – having worked with Anna Kendrick on the film, and now that we know you have a good singing voice – can we expect to see you in Pitch Perfect 2?
RR: It took weeks to get that song out of my head! I do not have a good singing voice! I will literally do absurd things on film and never bat an eye. For the singing I was flop-sweat, I looked like a drug addict who hadn’t been on his fix for five days, I was a mess. Singing is not my forte, never will be. Thank you for saying that, I will say I was passable but I am by no means a singer. Anna – that’s a singer. Gemma is a singer. It was terrifying to be singing around them because they’re so good.
AW: When you were thinking about taking this role, was not having done anything like it before and the unknown factor part of the allure or did you always know you were capable of this sort of performance?
RR: Movies like this that are experimental, that are on the blacklist in Hollywood and you know nobody’s ever gonna make them; they’re no risk because you go in and you swing for the fence and you do everything you can and you leave nothing on the table. The worse case scenario is nobody is ever going to see it because it’s not a $100 million movie, and the best case scenario is that it’s gonna be something that’s groundbreaking. I think we’ve done the latter here; this movie is genre bending in every way, shape and form, it’s a vision unlike anything I’ve ever seen and the first time I saw the movie I was blown away. I’ve only seen it on DVD so I’m excited to see it tonight.
AW: Any update on the Deadpool movie?
RR: [Laughs] At this point it’s…We’ll see.
Marjane Satrapi (Director)
Amon Warmann: Is there a right time to shoot an intense scene?
Marjane Satrapi: In an ideal world, everybody would be prepared and we would have the intense scene at the end, but you have the problem of location and whether it’s the day shoot or the night shoot. Before people had six months of shooting but I never had this time so I really have to follow a schedule. But when you’re working with great actors, the difference between a great actor and another one is they can right away put themselves in a kind of mood, and they know exactly how to do it, so you always have what you want at the end.
AW: This is your fourth film. What are some of the lessons you learnt from your previous three films that you took into this one?
MS: The reason I’m so interested in films is that it’s a very complicated thing to do. You have to think about so many things that makes it extremely complex. Of course I have a goal to make the perfect movie. Some people like Orson Wells they can make it from their first film, they make Citizen Kane and it’s a masterpiece. This goal is like a star in the night. Each film that I do, I have more experience, I know how to do it better, but I will never know how to do it perfectly I’m sure [laughs].
AW: I was at the panel you participated in earlier today and you made a great point about allowing your actors to elevate your script and your vision. If you could pick out one particular scene that you had imagined one way but came out even better, what would it be?
MS: Almost every scene, I have to say. Of course as a director it’s not great for me to say that…Before I make a film I have to play it for myself, I play it in front of a mirror because I need to know the rhythm of the film. I hate when you’re watching a film and it gets too long or too boring so I need to feel the rhythm of the movie. So I play it for myself and after eight times of playing the same thing you have an idea of how it will look. In animation I can control every single gesture. A good actor is there to transcend everything. Sometimes I know what is going to happen, but many times what happens is that I am behind my monitor and I was like “My God!” With Gemma or Ryan when the scene is finished I never say cut because I know they’re going to make something extra and lots of those extra things have been used. Since they’re intelligent, smart and talented, they don’t stop it at the moment they know that the lines have finished. They still do something that most of the time is extremely useful in editing.
AW: How does this film differ from your earlier work?
MS: My earlier work has a lot to do with my memories and my stories. After a while you’ve done one, you’ve done two, you want to move on. Also, I never thought that I would be able to film the story of someone else because I also write. It was extremely challenging for me and at the same time I wanted to know how does that work because the experience was great and the writer was great and we collaborated together. In a way I enjoyed it more; because it wasn’t what I wrote I could really concentrate everything on my direction so it was really good for that.
AW: The song at the end of the film – was that always in the script?
MS: There was some singing and dancing in the end but it was not exactly like that. I watched lots of clips from the 60’s when people took lots of LSD and made these types of films with not so much money because we didn’t have so many days of shooting so I did something simple that I could really do in one day. What was good was that I could draw all the dresses for this final reverie. My costume designer was great because she really produced whatever I wanted. Whatever I drew I had so I was really happy about that.
The Voices is yet to be assigned a UK release date.