As 'Chris Brander,' Reynolds goes from a grossly overweight high school student in love with the beautiful but unattainable Jamie Palamino (Smart) to a hunky ladies man who fled his hometown and now has the unenviable task of trying to make a bizarre pop singer (Faris) into a star.
While escorting the spoiled diva to a party, their plane takes an unexpected detour back to Chris' hometown. Grounded, Chris has no choice but to spend a couple of days visiting old friends and wandering the town. The 'romantic' part of the romantic comedy comes into play when Chris runs into Jamie, the girl who never let him past the 'just friends' barricade while they were in high school.
Ryan Reynolds on Wearing a Fat Suit in Just Friends: Reynolds sports a fat suit for the first part of the film, sort of like the one worn by Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor but much more believable. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Reynolds said he decided not to go the DeNiro route and actually gain the weight because he isnt that committed to his craft. Because its really hard to lose 45 pounds in an hour without cutting an actual limb off. So yeah, no, it was a labor of love though. I loved wearing that suit, joked Reynolds.
What He Got Out of the Fat Suit Experience: I felt like it could have been anything. It didnt have to necessarily be like a fat suit or anything, but it just felt great to experiment in that world of being a young, kind of semi-pubescent high schooler again. That is such a scary, wounding time. It was great to kind of reclaim it a little bit as that character and just feel free to be honest and wear my heart on my sleeve and be vulnerable and be sensitive, be everything that the future Chris Brander isnt.
In a way it kind of was sort of an architect of compassion for me for those guys that are out there and theyre players and theyre a little bit smarmy maybe. I have a lot of compassion for those guys. Theyre just trying to avoid intimacy because theyve been hurt. A lot of people are like that so it was just a blast to just be that and be honest and funny and fun in it and allow the character to just really, really, really be sensitive and vulnerable. I actually wished I could have done the whole movie in that suit. I would love to do that.
Reynolds said that while they were up in Canada shooting the film, he ventured outside in the fat suit. Whoever created the suit made it out of molten lava. I had to go outside all the time to just cool off because it was so, so hot. I would go outside I remember I was standing outside and I was looking up at the set, the house. It was minus 40 out - keep in mind. We were shooting with sled dogs in the arctic. I remember staring up at the house and this woman came up to me and asked me if Ryan Reynolds was inside. You have no idea, my dear. Hes inside all right, recalls Reynolds.
Ryan Reynolds Character is Based on Producer Chris Bender: Asked if he stole anything from the real Bender to help him with this character, Reynolds said, Well, apparently a lot of money. No, I didnt. Yeah, his experience was pretty much all on the page. There wasnt really too much to steal in that sense, but also this is such a universal theme to me. I dont know anyone who hasnt experienced this kind of purgatory, that of the just friends jail cell. I was just surprised that nobody else had tackled the topic at all. Youd think in this day and age everything had been done, but this was one thing where Roger Kumble and I both looked at each other like, Wow, Im amazed this hasnt been broached yet. So I was really excited to do it.
Ryan Reynolds Can Really Relate to Being Just Friends: Reynolds said there was a girl in high school who he loved but who he wound up being just friends with because she wanted to keep things in the friend zone. Everyone was in love with her, so I was like her buddy buddy and it was hard. It was hard being her friend. It was hard watching her date other guys that were just dirt bags. And I relate to this character when he was in high school because I was very sensitive in high school and I was a lot more honest outwardly with people than I have been in my 20s.
You get crushed, you get wounded a little bit, and you learn how to not do that anymore. And then hopefully, once you get married and you want to be intimate with somebody and emotionally intimate, you try to unlearn all that s**t that youve been defending against.