Ryan Reynolds is known for many different roles in his career, with a resume that’s seen him tackle pretty much anything. But for a lot of people, the role that helped put him on the radar was the hellraiser Van Wilder in 2002’s National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. With the 20th anniversary coming next year, fans will be motivated to revisit that early Reynolds film in celebration, and the Free Guy actor is one of those who's looking forward to doing just that.
As we spoke during the promotional tour for Free Guy, I raised the subject of how Ryan Reynolds might want his fans to celebrate 20 years of the cult classic party liaison and his antics. While he was a little caught off guard in terms of how long it had been, the actor still had a very sweet message to give to those fans. Here’s what he had to say:
A raunchy comedy that came to popularity in the era of American Pie, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder is the basic template for the snarky, but lovable character that Ryan Reynolds has made a name playing. Sort of bridging the gap between the generations, fans of Animal House were lured in by the National Lampoon brand, and more modern filmgoers got to discover burgeoning talent like Reynolds, Kal Penn and even American Pie’s own Tara Reid. While he didn’t take part in either the sequel or prequel that kept the franchise going, Ryan Reynolds is clearly thankful for his time on Van Wilder, and it’s not hard to see why.
Without his breakout role in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, we may never have gotten the rest of the Ryan Reynolds story as we know it. While that different history probably would have ensured that Green Lantern never happened, there’s also the downside of seeing Deadpool or even another deep cut favorite like Just Friends potentially slip away from the sacred timeline that is Reynolds’ resume. No matter which Ryan Reynolds movie you think of, each of them owe a small debt to Van Wilder being the cult hit that it was in 2002.
Evolving to a point where snark and heart have both made huge strides in his filmography, Ryan Reynolds sees the fan love for National Lampoon’s Van Wilder as a blessing. With laughs aplenty, the doors to Hollywood opened, and with them came a lot of exciting prospects for the Canadian actor, heartthrob and marketing wizard; the latest of which, Free Guy, will be opening at a theater near you this weekend. But don’t forget to head off to our 2021 release schedule, as there may be another movie or two that feature Mr. Reynolds’ abilities in the realm of action and sarcasm.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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