Ryan Reynolds might be one of the most recognizable, popular and highest-paid names in Hollywood, but his career as a leading man arguably didn’t truly take off until the success of Deadpool in 2016, which is ironic considering that the Merc with a Mouth’s solo debut had been stuck in development hell for a dozen years before it exploded onto the scene to earn almost $785 million globally.
Even more ironically, prior to the self-aware assassin’s feature debut, the highest-grossing live-action movie of Reynolds’ entire career up to that point was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which marked the first time he played Wade Wilson. In fact, after Logan’s prequel, Blade: Trinity, Green Lantern and R.I.P.D., the actor was in real danger of becoming known as the guy who only starred in terrible comic book adaptations. But then Deadpool came along.
Now, Reynolds is a megastar in Hollywood and insider Daniel Richtman is claiming that the 44 year-old is actively seeking another role that could become iconic in the future, similar to the ubiquitous popularity currently enjoyed by his foul-mouthed portrayal of his superhero alter ego. Of course, it should be pointed out that Deadpool was hardly a household name among casual audiences before the movie blew up, and playing an iconic character isn’t quite as simple as deciding that you’re going to do it.
Unless they’ve got the pop culture standing of someone like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, the Joker, James Bond, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes or a few others, then nothing can realistically be guaranteed iconic status from the outset, and shooting for it right off the bat can often lead to actors trying too hard. However, with a dozen movies in various stages of development, maybe one of Ryan Reynolds‘ upcoming performances can hit the sweet spot and secure that sort of lofty and enduring status in the eyes of fans around the world.