Ryan Reynolds shows off knowledge of silent film with his love of Buster Keaton

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Photo via Cohen Media Group

It might be arguable that Buster Keaton was “the greatest of all the clowns,” as Orson Welles once described him, but few would argue if they knew anything about the filmmaking comedian. After hearing breaking news about a limited series Warner Bros. has in the making, Ryan Reynolds tweeted his appreciation for the vaudeville entertainer-turned-movie star while mentioning a short video that shows the genius behind the gag.

As Deadline reports, Warner Bros. is eyeing the novel Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life to be the source material for the story, as negotiations are underway to secure three-time Emmy winner Ted Cohen as the writer. Oscar and Emmy winner Rami Malek will play the lead role as well as produce, along with David Weddle of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Matt Reeves of Batman. Malek is best known for his intense portrayal of computer hacker Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot and for bringing Freddie Mercury back to life in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Ryan Reynolds is obviously a fan of Buster Keaton because there are similar styles in their comedy. The most apparent similarity is the deadpan humor that the Deadpool actor embraces in many of his own gags. An expressionless face in the midst of absolute absurdity is the trademark of the silent film legend that many comedians emulate today. None better than Reynolds himself who can be surrounded by wacky ridiculousness and maintain the soberest face in the most comedic way.

“The Art of the Gag” by Tony Zhou is a study of Buster Keaton’s strategies and what made them work. He had several philosophies that made him stand out in Hollywood. One, he would never do the same gag twice. If the opportunity presented itself, the joke had to be told a completely different way. Two, he didn’t like to rely heavily on title pages, a common theme in those days because there was no sound. Keaton liked to tell his stories through action, which is what his audiences came to see, not read themselves through an entire film.

However, one of the most impressive rules he employed was that if he was going to do a gag, he could never fake it. If he was supposed to fall, he fell. If he was going to get dragged down the street, he was dragged. He liked that authenticity in his work and that’s another similarity between the great comedian and Ryan Reynolds even though the latter admits to getting to that age where he’s through doing his own stunts.

When the Buster Keaton story is finally released, Reynolds will be standing first in line to watch it. There is no news as of yet on when filming will begin or when it will be complete, but it’s definitely in the planning stages.