updated 04/13/2005 AT 5:45 PM ET
•originally published 04/14/2005 AT 6:00 AM ET
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
Current gig: Playing a possessed dad in the The Amityville Horror remake
Ryan Reynolds’s first brush with evil came early. “My brother sat me in front of The Exorcist when I was 7 or 8 years old. I think that he just wanted to watch his little brother fill his pants,” he says. “That really screwed me up. Every day I’d come home and tell my mom that I was possessed and she would just nod and agree.”
These days, Reynolds is the one doing the scaring in the remake of the 1979 movie The Amityville Horror. Best known for goofy roles in sitcoms like Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (1998-2001) and the 2002 film Van Wilder, he’s now showing off his dark side. “It was exciting for me,” Reynolds says. “I liked the thought of this guy being a bear, a big intimidating presence.”
At home, it’s another story – one of romance. Last June Reynolds asked singer Alanis Morisette, 30, to marry him. “We both really love being engaged,” he says. “We don’t have a date yet – it could be next week or next year.”
But for the couple, who met at Drew Barrymore’s birthday party in 2002, it’s all about togetherness. “She’ll push a tour back so she can be on set with me, and I’ll push a movie back, if I can, to be with her,” he explains. “It can’t work unless we prioritize.”
As for The Amityville Horror – which is based on true events – the dedicated Reynolds made playing the possessed George Lutz, a father and husband who mentally unravels during his family’s 28 days of living in a haunted home, his priority. “I had my whole hotel room like a giant diagram of George. I had cards all over the place – like, ‘Where am I today?’ ”
Reynolds has always been methodical about his career. The youngest of four sons to Jim, a food wholesaler, and Tammy, a retail saleswoman, he began acting out of a desire “to be the clown – and always being usurped by my brother.” His first series was the 1991 Nickelodeon teen drama Fifteen, which he filmed in his native Canada, and roles in TV movies followed.
But comedy is where he really has his footing. Even on the Amityville set, he couldn’t stop himself from cracking up: “When they called cut, he starts saying hysterical jokes,” says costar Melissa George. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” And though he took the buff action-hero route in 2004’s Blade: Trinity, Reynolds’s plate is full with several upcoming comedies, playing a therapist alongside The Rock in Ride Along and a sleazy record executive in Just Friends.
Yet Reynolds’s most immediate plans involve just hanging out with his fiancée. He’ll join the singer on much of her European tour, which began April 11, and a special pit stop is planned for Paris, his yearly vacation spot, where he’ll “just sip some tea on the Left Bank, putter around and have no agenda at all.”