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Ryan Reynolds Recalls Giving Denzel Washington Two Black Eyes While Filming Safe House And How The Actor Responded

Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington in Safe House
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Ryan Reynolds has become one of the top movie stars in the world following the success of the Deadpool franchise, but prior to that the actor made many movies, most of which don’t come immediately to mind. You’d be forgiven if you’d forgotten Ryan Reynolds once starred alongside Denzel Washington in the movie Safe House. It’s possible Reynolds himself would like to forget it too, as he apparently gave Washington, not one, but two black eyes.

Safe House was a decent hit in its day, so much so that a sequel was planned, though it has never happened. It’s unlikely to get added to the list of upcoming Ryan Reynolds movies anytime soon. The movie is discovered from time to time, and it’s a solid action movie with good performances from both leads. Reynolds has mentioned previously that he injured his co-star while on set, but we now have some key details on what happened.  

Ryan Reynolds is one of the stars interviewed in the new season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (opens in new tab). Among the variety of topics covered, from cooking to soccer to his wife Blake Lively going to Disney jail, Reynolds mentions that when he and Denzel Washington filmed one pivotal action scene in Safe House, the two had their heads collide, and Denzel got the worst side of the exchange. Reynolds says… 

There's a scene in the movie where he crawls through the trunk in the back and he grabs me and chokes me. We were really driving a car at top speed… he and I are in this out of control car and my corner of my head — I felt it hit his eye so hard I was sure that it split wide open.

Luckily, nobody’s head split wide open, but Denzel had what Reynolds described as a “giant egg” on his face. Reynolds assumed he would be going home after that, having given an injury to Denzel Washington that would likely be a problem considering the actor’s face would need to be on camera. Luckily, Washington apparently took the whole thing in stride. Reynolds continues… 

He was fine, he was like, 'Hey, accidents happen. Let's do it again and we'll shoot it from the other side so we can keep shooting so you don't see this.’ I'm like okay great.

So Ryan Reynolds thinks he’s off the hook for hurting Denzel Washington, and they shoot around the injury so that it won’t end up on camera. The problem is that the two of them are still wrestling around in a movie car going at high speed, so there’s only so much control that you can have. Reynolds tells Letterman that in one of the alternate take, the worst possible thing happened… 

We did it again. I got the other eye, Dave. For a minute, he looked like a Christmas ornament.

From there the conversation moves on so it’s not entirely clear what the reaction to Denzel Washington getting smashed in the eye twice was. Ryan Reynolds is still alive so it would seem that he wasn’t too upset. Reynolds says he wanted to die, so maybe that was good enough. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.