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How Ryan Reynolds' Childhood Made Its Way Into The Adam Project

The wait is almost over for fans to see one of the most star-studded films that a streaming service has ever produced. "The Adam Project" stars Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldaña, Jennifer Garner, and young star-in-the-making Walker Scobell. With a cast this incredible, it's no surprise that the film has received overwhelming accolades from critics. While the film may seem like a typical sci-fi movie on the surface, it becomes instantly clear that at its heart, "The Adam Project" is a film about family, grief, and love — with a time travel twist.

Netflix invited Looper to an early in-person screening of "The Adam Project," followed by a Q&A with Reynolds, Ruffalo, Scobell, and director Shawn Levy. Dave Karger moderated the event, including a question about the movie's genre-bending plotline. Reynolds and Levy discussed what it was like working through multiple genres, while Reynolds dove into moments of his own childhood that have helped inform his work on "The Adam Project" and beyond.

Toggling between genres

Karger asked about the process of seamlessly mixing genres from family drama to sci-fi in "The Adam Project," and Shawn Levy said, "Well, mixing comedy and action, that's not easy, but that's easier than mixing comedy, action, and emotion. Because there's a lot of action comedies, we've both done a lot of action comedies." Levy added, "That's challenging, but if you actually want to make an authentic connection with an audience, which you can tell, we really did with this movie, that's more challenging." Genre-bending is no easy task, but "The Adam Project" seamlessly maneuvers between action, heart, and childhood nostalgia.

Ryan Reynolds piped in to praise Levy. "You sit in the audience when you're making the movie," Reynolds said. "Literally, it's one thing I noticed about Shawn early on when we were shooting 'Free Guy' — that he's quite literally watching his movie while he is making it, and it's your superpower. I really believe it. It's what makes it special." Pretty much everyone in the audience would agree that "The Adam Project" is nothing if not special.

Using the past to inform the present

Karger added a follow-up for Reynolds, asking, "Yeah. And I guess for you, what I'm specifically referring to is jokes in the middle of a life or death crisis because, you're right, comedy in action, those you can do, but this is like crazy life or dead moments, and the humor really works. Is that a challenge for you?"

Reynolds said, "Yeah, I think it works when it's [a] maladaptive coping mechanism. When it's something that you do to stay alive ... You've always been doing to stay alive." The actor dove into his own childhood, adding, "I'm the youngest of four boys that grew up in a house of cops and ruffians, and my brothers were monsters, but I stayed alive with a bit of a silver tongue. I wasn't going to win with my fists, but that was my self-defense mechanism." That aspect of Reynolds certainly shows up on screen as well.

"That's what kept me safe in my home, my ability to make my dad laugh when he's a skin-covered landmine," Reynolds noted. "Those are those moments that really matter and became the [inspiration for] your career. You used them in movies like this or wherever else ... A little bit more judiciously in a movie like this than maybe "Deadpool" or something."

"The Adam Project" releases on March 11 on Netflix.