Ryan Reynolds’ could say his earliest success was Van Wilder, but then he’d have to acknowledge that he was in it. The “goofy gross-out college movie,” as Reynolds describes it, isn't exactly a high point for the Deadpool actor’s career, but it did put him on the map.
Van Wilder is about a seventh-year college senior who’s more interested in partying and having a good time than graduating. The movie’s full of gross-out hijinks. The arguably most famous scene features Reynolds and his co-conspirators doing something unspeakable to a dog in order to fool his enemies into eating disgusting pastries.
The goofy comedy may have gotten the actor a bit of publicity early on in his career, but it gave him a very specific reputation. “It made me the party guy. For years after that," Reynolds told GQ, "I was Van Wilder." Just going out to a bar meant instant recognition for the Green Lantern star. “I would walk into a bar and people would start lining up the shots. You could sum up my career at that point as a free shot at a bar.”
Taming Van Wilder
This wasn’t exactly how the actor wanted to be known, though. Reynolds struggled with people’s association of the immature, partying Van Wilder with himself, who definitely didn’t fit that persona. "I know it affected me more than I'm revealing,” Reynolds said, “because I know that I went years without even saying the words Van Wilder. Even now, when I say it, it's a bit of a big moment for me."
Reynolds admitted in the interview that he’d only seen a rough cut of Van Wilder before it was released, but he hadn’t watched it since. It wasn't just the college movie — Reynolds didn’t bother to watch other early projects of his. "Early on in my career," he recalled, "there were a lot of movies I didn't see." At least Van Wilder could count itself lucky it wasn’t on that list.
As an actor married to a famous actress in her own right, Ryan Reynolds and his marriage are often the focus of gossip magazines. OK! published a story in November 2019 claiming Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively had saved their marriage after nearly divorcing. The source that spoke with the magazine claimed Reynolds’ busy work schedule kept him out of the house, which left Lively with the lion’s share of work when it came to raising the kids.
It only took a moment for Gossip Cop to debunk this rumor. In an interview with People, Reynolds shared his family’s strategy for staying together. He and Lively purposefully don’t work at the same time and whoever isn’t working travels with the kids to where the other partner is working. If the tabloid had done a moment of research, they wouldn’t have published this whopper of a story. At least Reynolds doesn't have to be embarrassed about this work of fiction.