“Spirited”: Ryan Reynolds sings, dances and parodies Dickens

We know the story by heart: on Christmas Eve, a man without faith or law is visited by three spirits who help him, by frightening him a bit, to recover his humanity. Written by Charles Dickens in 1843, A Christmas Carol (A Christmas Carol Where Christmas carols, depending on the edition) has been adapted hundreds of times on stage, radio, television and cinema. If, of the lot, Spirited. Christmas spirit is not the first musical version, it is perhaps the most mischievous. This partly explaining this, Ryan “ Dead Pool Reynolds, who we spoke to during a virtual roundtable, is the headliner.

In Spirited, due on AppleTV+ on November 18, and which also stars Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer and Sunita Mani, Ryan Reynolds plays Clint Briggs, the unscrupulous head of a public relations firm. Unbeknownst to him, Clint is in the crosshairs of ghosts who, from the beyond, plan the annual interventions such as the one once carried out with Ebenezer Scrooge, and recorded for posterity by Charles Dickens.

“We have all already rubbed shoulders with a despicable person, notes Ryan Reynolds. We keep coming across people who don’t see the holistic goodness of the world. Hence the timeless side of the original story. It has been processed and interpreted so many times and in so many ways… It’s great to offer a new version of it, and to become one of the many colors of this rainbow. »

My primary incentive was the prospect of working with someone I idolized throughout my adult life: Will Ferrell. I believe Will has contributed more to the comic lexicon than anyone. I also like the part of vulnerability that he has and that he brings to his game; it makes it even funnier and more accessible.

What to expect ? To a mixture of Scroogethe 1970 musical, and Scrooged (Ghosts in party), the modern and irreverent 1988 adaptation. Spirited by a character who is sorry for all these other “useless adaptations” of Dickens’s work. When asked, in this regard, if he was convinced from the start that this version would be the successes, the actor replies that he did not care too much about them.

“My primary incentive was the prospect of working with someone I’ve idolized my entire adult life: Will Ferrell. I believe Will has contributed more to the comic lexicon than anyone. I also like the part of vulnerability that he has and that he brings to his game; it makes it even funnier and more accessible. »

Will Ferrell, to whom we owe elf (The Elf), now a holiday classic, plays the ghost of the Present who, in the person of Clint, may have measured up to too much of a party. Indeed, Clint knows how to manipulate, divert, dodge, etc., and soon, it is the ghost of the Present itself that finds itself in full (non) existential balance sheet.

“Obviously, when I learned that it was a musical, I understood that I was in trouble”, continues Ryan Reynolds.

Enjoy the experience

In this case, the choreographies were designed by Chloe Arnold, while the original songs were composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land). We are talking about a very “Broadway” approach; complex numbers, often large-scale, and interspersed with more intimate sung soliloquies.

“Training for a superhero movie, I feel like I’ve been doing this since I was 20 — I’m now 46. It’s become second nature. And it’s true that, me shooting a fight scene, and a dancer doing a tap number, it can be similar on a certain level. It prevents […] When you haven’t spent your life studying dance and singing, the best you can hope for is to catch up by relying on the 10, 20, 50 takes sometimes necessary to get you there. . Even after all these months of rehearsal, Will and I could never replace real dancers and singers. »

However, in this matter, Ryan Reynolds was able to count on the wise advice of an actor friend who, unlike him, is a musical comedy pro: Hugh Jackman, who, in addition to his role as Wolverine in the X-Menis known in film for The Greatest Showman(The master of the scene), and on the boards, for The Boy from Oz (Tony Award) and The Music Man. For the record, Reynolds and Jackman, who like to fuel a fake quarrel on social networks, will give the reply in Deadpool 3.

“Hugh and I were having coffee, and he reminded me of something fundamental in our field, in all things arts. He said to me, “Don’t forget to enjoy the experience. If you have fun, we will have fun in return.” I tried to always keep that in mind, even when I felt completely overwhelmed, which happened to me almost every day. »

Faced with this attitude very carp diethe ghost of the Present once imagined by Dickens would undoubtedly have been proud.

To be rotten, to improve

However, Ryan Reynolds says he has maintained a fairly zen attitude towards his profession these years.

“The older I get, the less I try to control myself, to have a polish. I listen more, I try things… As I get older, and it’s one of the gifts of advancing in age, I’m more comfortable with the idea of ​​being rotten in something: the more I find myself rotten at something, and the better I can become at that thing. I no longer have the desire to be perfect from the outset: I accept that I can be bad, which then leaves me the room for maneuver required to improve myself. »

Asked about his opinion on the transformational power of the film, Ryan Reynolds is both pragmatic and dreamy.

“I don’t think, unfortunately, that trolls and assholes [« a-holes »] of this world are prone to this kind of awareness. But it is certain that Dickens’ account functions as a metaphor of this order. This idea of ​​three ghosts showing up, making you revisit your life and helping you have that moment of enlightenment about who you are, which then inspires you to change… I wish more people have those kind of moments of enlightenment. »

Spirited – the spirit of Christmas (VF de Spirited)

AppleTV+, from November 18

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“Spirited”: Ryan Reynolds sings, dances and parodies Dickens