TODAY   |  February 07, 2012

Ryan Reynolds: My new thriller is ‘intense’

TODAY’s Matt Lauer talks with actor Ryan Reynolds, who talks about how much he enjoyed working with Denzel Washington in the new action-thriller “Safe House,” and relates how he accidentally gave Washington a black eye.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> star of the new action thriller "safehouse" ryan reynolds plays a cia case worker in south africa . a sleepy post until a rogue agent played by denzel washington shows up and tries to mess with his mind. take a look.

>> does she know what you do for a living -- the girl on the phone? it was a girl, wasn't it? maybe it was a guy. i don't know. i don't judge. you can't expect to have a real relationship in our line of work, matthew.

>> they said they would kill me to get to you.

>> after a while even the truth sounds like a lie.

>> you have something they want. what is it?

>> who is it?

>> don't worry about her.

>> oh, it is a her.

>> ryan reynolds , welcome back.

>> thank uh you.

>> this is the second time you have done this to me. you were here for "the change up." i thought it was a baseball movie so i took my kids.

>> terrific.

>> this one "safehouse" sounds safe for kids, too, right?

>> no, no. this is smoking ocular cavities.

>> this is a thrill ride . from the moment it starts it takes you on a wild cat and mouse game ride.

>> it's intense. i never like it when i see movies i'm in but now i know where it came from "the edge of your seat." it was unbelievable.

>> you play this case worker for the cia . but he's seeing no action whatsoever.

>> zero.

>> he's bouncing tennis balls against the wall. here comes denzel washington . why does he create such havoc?

>> i play a cia house keeper that works in a safehouse. they are operated all over the world and are used for visiting agents or interrogations. denzel is brought in for interinvestigatiinter interrogation. the people who brought him there are killed and i'm left alone with him.

>> what works well in the movie is that you're both so perfect for the roles. he's so intense. with e know it from his previous movies. you bring to it a sense of innocence which is perfect for the character at this stage in his career.

>> he's in over his head in every way, shape and form. he's never seen anything like this.

>> what's it like to act opposite the intensity of denzel washington ?

>> it gives you sunburn. it's like being in acting school . it's incredible to work with somebody like that. he's a legend. one of the best living, working actors we have today. just to be around it is a learning experience. i loved working with him.

>> there is a lot of physicality to the role. you are now the only guy ever to give denzel a black eye during filming. it was an accident?

>> it's like prison. you have to hit the biggest guy on the first day as hard as you can. make a statement for the crew. let them know i mean business . we were shooting a car chase scene and cape town figures heavily because it's where the movie is set. they let you get away with more than stunts. the car chases, one is unbelievable in particular. they're showing it now. we're going 80 miles per hour on a side street . somehow --

>> this isn't on a back lot. you're driving a car.

>> really driving a car. somehow denzel 's head came in contact with mine. i looked back and there he was with a golf ball -sized egg on his face.

>> how did he take it?

>> i thought he was going to turn me into a liquid. should i pack my bags?

>> he seems like he'd break your jaw later in the film and say, oops, that was an accident, too.

>> he took it all right. he gave me a look like, you can't believe you just gave denzel washington a black eye . that was about the look i had.

>> sexiest man alive, 2010 , 2011 and you missed the threepeat by this much.

>> i'm hitting brown university next week.

>> little more intellectual stuff.

>> you retire the sash and talk about your experiences. an evening with ryan.

>> you have a sash?

>> of course.

>> this one is wild. ryan reynolds , good to have you here.

>> it's from our sister company universal pictures and it opens on friday. k denzel will be here tomorrow morning. mr.