Make no mistake, the new Christmas comedy Energetic it’s a complete musical. That means their stars, ryan reynoldsNot actors typically associated (or at all experienced) with the genre, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer are in full song-and-dance mode.
And that was terrifying at times for Reynolds, the 46-year-old. dead pool actor and father of three daughters.
“It was super exciting to take on something that was obscenely challenging and scary,” Reynolds tells Yahoo Entertainment. “And I don’t think I would have done this 10 or 15 years ago, or even five years ago, necessarily. I think I’m at a point in my life where I’m much more forgiving of myself for not being good at something right away. It’s very hard to be even adequate at something unless you’re willing to be terrible at it first.
“That’s something I always tell my kids: never waste your mistakes because your mistakes are what teach you to be better at something. So yeah, I was at a place in my life where I was willing to get into a situation where I felt completely out of my depth in almost every way. I mean, you give me a fight sequence and I’ll learn it forward and backward in almost record time. But a dance number is a completely different animal and beast. And I was excited to try something that was scary and out of my league.”
The latest film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s seminal 1843 novel A Christmas Carol stars Reynolds as Clint Briggs, a manipulative PR shark whose “irredeemable” status only excites Ferrell’s challenge-loving Christmas present Ghost. Briggs, however, manages to turn Present on its head, forcing the ghost to examine his own existence in the afterlife in the Sean Anders-directed film, which features original music by the the earth Y the greatest showman hitmakers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
Speaking of the greatest showmanReynolds denies Energetic is his attempt to try and keep up with Music Man himself, old friend/false enemy Hugh Jackman, who Reynolds recently enlisted in Deadpool 3 to much fanfare.
“Not remotely,” Reynolds laughs. “Singing and dancing is in that man’s DNA. He is not in mine.
However, Reynolds says he was comforted by his association with Ferrell, as the two dove into a new genre together. (Though they both appeared briefly in the 1999 sitcom Dick, Energetic marks the first time you share your screen together).
“Him and I managed to do this together in a way that we’ve never gotten into a full musical before,” says Reynolds. “We both had elements in movies where we might sing for a second or do something like that, but not a musical. So for the two of us, we were a bit out of our league. So I had a partner in that process. I had someone by my side that I could sympathize with [with] together.”
Maybe it helped that Ferrell already had a bona fide contemporary Christmas classic under his belt with 2003’s Elf. Maybe he didn’t.
“Those are great jumping shoes,” says Reynolds. “That’s a movie my kids and my whole family watch every Christmas.”
Elf it’s a cold reminder that ultimately it seems like there are only two kinds of Christmas movies. The ones that become classics, to be watched or streamed every holiday season by the masses. Or those that are simply forgotten.
“You don’t know,” says Reynolds. “I mean, nobody knows. The funny thing is, I think you can’t judge a great movie or something that people come back to until years later. There are movies we all know and love and are obsessed with that didn’t necessarily work at the time. I mean, you can go as far back as The Wizard of Oz to think about it. You can go as far back as It’s a wonderful life. Movies that didn’t make it to theaters or pierce the zeitgeist in a way people might want but then stood the test of time time and time again.
“One thing I know about the entertainment industry at 46 after doing this for 30 years is that I don’t know anything. You just don’t know anything. And that’s something I’m sure of.”
Reynolds is also certain that despite the “obscenely challenging and terrifying” experience of channeling his inner Fred Astaire (or Hugh Jackman) into a musical for the first time, he ultimately thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I don’t claim to be the greatest on Earth, but God I loved to sing and dance,” says Reynolds. “I loved every second. It really was a lot of fun, especially when it was going well. It was a feeling like no other.”
Energetic is now playing in select theaters and will stream globally on Apple+ starting November 18.