Ryan Reynolds blackens Denzel Washington's eye, lives to tell the tale

Feb. 7, 2012 at 9:17 AM ET

People's sexiest man alive for 2010 may not have made it to the top of 2011's list (displaced by Bradley Cooper), but Ryan Reynolds is still very aware of his honor: "I'm on the lecture circuit now ... I'll be speaking at Brown University next week," he told TODAY's Matt Lauer Tuesday, tongue firmly in cheek. "You know, you retire the sash and just talk about your experiences. An evening with Ryan."

But Reynolds remains aware of preserving his looks for future Sexiest Man issues, joking that he worried for his own safety while making his new film "Safe House," in which he accidentally gave co-star Denzel Washington a black eye.

"I look at moviemaking -- it's like prison," he said. "You've just got to hit the biggest guy on the first day as hard as you can, just make a statement for that crew."

What went down happened during a car chase scene, when both actors were in close contact in a struggle. "Somehow, Denzel's head came in contact with my head, and felt it behind me and I looked back and there he was with a golf ball-sized egg on his face," said Reynolds, who plays a CIA agent. "But he took it all right. He gave me a look like, 'You can't believe you just gave Denzel Washington a black eye' and that was just about the look I had."

"Safe House" opens Friday. Watch the trailer below. And tune in on Wednesday for Denzel Washington on TODAY.

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