How Ryan Reynolds went beyond the movies to build a business empire

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Don’t put that. This dead Pool mask won’t offer you any protection, ”Ryan Reynolds said as he watched me look at the burgundy and black superhero face cover displayed on a credenza behind him. “In fact, this mask will probably give you an STD.” His broad smile fades, replaced by a serious face. “No, really,” he said sotto voce. “You are going to catch something. I did.”

Unmasked (albeit vaxxed and tested), Reynolds and I are in the barn on the property Reynolds shares with his wife, Blake Lively, and their three daughters in a wooded area in upstate New York so rural he calls it. “Paul Bunyan’s Asshole.” We’re upstairs in a former hayloft littered with memories of the 45-year-old Canadian actor’s success since wearing the dead Pool mask on screen: draped over a motorbike, a scarf bears the crest of Wrexham AFC, the fifth-tier Welsh football club that Reynolds bought last February with Rob McElhenney and about which the pair are making an FX docusery. A bar cart is lined with bottles of Aviation Gin, the brand he bought and which was acquired by Diageo in a deal that would be worth up to $ 610 million in 2020 (with the deal that Reynolds would retain a “continuing interest”). And there’s a huge velor sofa in a shade Reynolds calls “Mint Mobile green,” in reference to the cell phone company he bought a controlling stake in in 2019 because he was a fan of the service. It was on this sofa, explains Reynolds, that he presented his vision of free guy, an uplifting wellness comedy in the form of a video game action film that became a surprise blockbuster this summer.


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