Filming 2010’s Buried almost drove Ryan Reynolds mad. In fact, it would probably drive anyone mad. One thing Reynolds did to remain sane was reread passages and pages from the classic book, A Confederacy Of Dunces.
If you’ve never seen Buried, be warned. It’s intense. The entire movie takes place inside a coffin where Reynolds’ character has been buried alive by Iraqi terrorists. He is left with only a lighter and a Blackberry phone. All the action in the film is difficult to watch and even the least claustrophobic person will get squeamish. For Reynolds, laying in that pine box day after day put a lot of pressure on his own sanity, as one might expect.
To take his mind off the intense shooting, Ryan Reynolds would retreat to his hotel room and reread passages from what he has called his “desert island” book, the John Kennedy Toole classic, A Confederacy Of Dunces. In an interview with GQ, Reynolds didn’t reveal which parts of the book he took solace in, but it is a lonely book, to be sure. An outcast protagonist trying to survive in a world that makes no sense to him. It would be ironic if it were any of the passages that criticize films, of which there is plenty. Maybe it makes sense that he would be reading quotes like “I should have known that every time I open the door of my room I am literally opening a Pandora’s Box.”
The filming of Buried lasted two weeks, on location in Barcelona. It’s hard to imagine a more lovely city to have to work, but for Reynolds, it was anything but. When the director suggested Reynolds should rehearse, he nixed the idea immediately. “I said, ‘Look, I don’t want to rehearse, but I’ll give you my last drop of blood, I promise you.'” It’s easy to see why when you hear about what the Deadpool star had to go through.
First, obviously, he was trapped in a coffin for hours on end. The wood from the coffin cut him often and left him with splinters. One of his two props, the Zippo lighter, burned him multiple times as he worked in the confined space. According to the actor, the back of Reynolds’ head developed a temporary bald spot from constantly rubbing the bottom of the coffin as he worked. “I’ll never, ever in my life complain on a set again after being on that set,” the actor said. “It was such a state of emotional distress.”
In the end, the hard work and sacrifice were worth it. The movie made $21 million on a budget of just $2 million and the movie is widely praised by critics. Though it might be his best performance of his career, don’t expect to see Reynolds to try something like it again. Getting buried alive again has about as much appeal to the actor as playing Green Lantern again. Hey, at least he Ryan Reynolds met his wife, Blake Lively, when he filmed that! And no, the couple isn’t getting divorced, no matter what the tabloids claim.