In his signature role as wisecracking crimefighter Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds exudes confidence.
However, as the Vancouver-born actor divulges in a new interview with the New York Times, the confidence we see onscreen hides the inner struggles he’s faced his entire life.
“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” Reynolds, 41, admits. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”
And while Reynolds has been able to successfully navigate his issues with anxiety, the upcoming release of “Deadpool 2” is likely not making things easier given the massive success of the first movie and the expectations that a sequel entails.
“When there’s built-in expectation,” he tells the Times, “your brain always processes that as danger.”
His anxiety also contributed to what he describes as his “real unhinged phase” during his early 20s.
“I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way,” he admits, telling the Times that he “frequently awoke in the middle of the night, paralyzed by anxiety, agonizing about his future.”
And while he made it through that tumultuous period of his life by “self-medicating,” the overdose deaths of a few friends convinced him he needed to tone down his partying.
Asked how he’s planning to manage his anxiety as he prepares for the “Deadpool 2” promotional media blitz, he says that he’ll be doing many of the interviews in character as Deadpool, which he finds far less stressful than being himself. He also uses Headspace, a meditation app, and reminds himself that his anxiety usually disappears the moment he walks onstage.
“When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he reveals. “That’s that great self-defence mechanism. I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”