Sociable, strapping and unceasingly sarcastic, Ryan Reynolds continues to redefine the concept of leading man with this month’s upcoming “The Amityville Horror.” Before he pits his trademark grin against a haunted house, however, Reynolds is addressing the rumors that have linked him to two of the silver screen’s most beloved smartasses.
Reynolds’ career took flight in 2002 with his titular role as “Van Wilder,” an underachieving collegiate party liaison who would rather tap kegs than hit the books. His wide-eyed reaction shots, happy-go-lucky approach and snappy one-liners had fans and critics alike comparing the performance to that of Chevy Chase in the 1985 classic “Fletch.”
“I love that movie, I love that character, I even love the books,” Reynolds said excitedly. “And Chevy’s just — the guy’s a fallen angel for me.”
With writer/director Kevin Smith currently preparing “Fletch Won,” a new movie that hopes to breathe life back into the franchise, Reynolds seems to be an obvious candidate to inherit Irwin Fletcher’s microcassette recorder and wallet full of fake IDs.
“Somebody talked to somebody about it, four different times,” Reynolds said, admitting he’d been approached. “I think the project has changed hands a few different times as well. Kevin Smith has it now, and I think he’s the most capable guy to do that. Kevin is smart because he’s going to reinvent it.”
Reynolds said he looks forward to Smith’s movie, but that the only involvement he’ll have with it is if he buys a ticket. “I feel like that’s hallowed ground, even for me,” he said. “I wouldn’t want … I have no desire to step into those shoes.”
“If I were to play it,” he continued, “I know that we would have some similar comic undertones, Chevy and I. I think you should just reinvent it and find a whole new way to go.”
As for reports that smart-alecky “Scrubs” star Zach Braff might be the next Fletch, Reynolds said it could be a good fit. “I’ve actually heard that as well. He’d make a good Fletch, I think. Actually, he’d be great.”
As the topic of conversation turned to Reynolds’ Chase-influenced portrayal of Van Wilder, the star had some bad news for the fans who have turned the movie into an “Animal House” for a new generation.
A “Van Wilder” sequel is being made, “but not with me,” he said. “They are making it right now.”
“I don’t know who they got,” Reynolds said of the “Dumb and Dumberer”-type decision to replace him with another actor. “Kal Penn is coming back, is what I’ve heard, but I have no idea. It’s not something I was interested in trying to top. I love the first one, and it’s such a great cult hit, so I sort of like that street cred. I don’t want to ruin it.”
Spokespeople for Lions Gate Films and Kal Penn could not be reached at press time.
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