Ryan Reynolds Is Teaming Up With John Krasinski In New Comedy

Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are teaming up for a comedy. These guys are among the most talents out there and this is a perfect match

By Dylan Balde | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

ryan reynolds john krasinski

John Krasinski’s fantasy debut is finally up and running after over two years of frenzied negotiations, a People exclusive reveals. Imaginary Friends, starring Ryan Reynolds and writer-director Krasinski, has officially been given the go signal. Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is currently shooting the fifth Indiana Jones movie with Harrison Ford in the U.K., joined the cast this month. Fleabag co-star Fiona Shaw, best known for playing Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films, has also signed on. Reynolds is set to produce Imaginary Friends via his production company Maximum Effort. Principal photography is scheduled to begin next summer.

John Krasinski and Ryan Reynolds had been pitching Imaginary Friends to prospective buyers as early as October 2019. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate, and a few others were involved in a high-stakes bidding war to determine which studio was going to finance and develop Krasinski’s high-concept fantasy comedy, with Paramount ultimately rising to the challenge. The ViacomCBS subsidiary officially signed the papers on Imaginary Friends the same year, though further negotiations regarding pay, budget, and scope would last well into 2021. By this month, terms were finally settled, with production expected to conclude sometime next year.

The crew is reportedly waiting till the end of Ryan Reynolds’s sabbatical from moviemaking to finally kick things into full gear. The Deadpool star just wrapped up work on Apple TV+ Christmas feature Spirited, where he played an early 2020s Ebenezer Scrooge opposite Will Ferrell’s Ghost of Christmas Present and felt like taking time off writing, acting, and producing sometime mid-October. Apple executives had also reportedly engaged in a bidding war to secure the rights to Spirited, eventually breaking out their wallets. Reynolds made the announcement about his sabbatical on his personal Instagram, sharing behind-the-scenes photos of the Christmas Carol musical adaptation in action and praising the cast and crew for being as kind as they are “obscenely” talented and gifted. The break will presumably last till mid-2022, when John Krasinski’s Imaginary Friends is set to start shooting.

Like John Krasinski with A Quiet Place, Ryan Reynolds has had the most riveting last five years as an actor and storyteller. The Vancouver native kicked off the countdown to 2020 with more home runs than any Hollywood actor is privy to in a lifetime, beginning with Deadpool, a project he fought tooth and nail to pitch and managed to see through from start to finish. He righted the flawed depiction of the Marvel antihero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and gave him a solo movie worth seeking Weapon X over; the result is an unexpected hit that not only leveraged rated-R superhero films as the new cool, it also solidified Ryan Reynolds’s leading man status, including his ability to command a set and make movies that sell like pancakes. All this as a killer virus was decimating cities worldwide. Pandemic? What pandemic?

Deadpool and Deadpool 2 were soon followed by a curious battery of high-concept features imbued with Reynolds’s distinctive creative touch — and they all made a gigantic splash in the box office, not to mention appeal to a wide variety of audiences and impress the most dubious of critics. And after hits like The Hitman’s Bodyguard (and its sequel), Detective Pikachu, 6 Underground, Free Guy, and the upcoming Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot Netflix starrer Red Notice, the man more than deserves a yearlong break. As James Gunn’s example so obviously proves, every brilliant creative with a masterful eye for cinematic perfection needs some time to chill and cool off before heading off to the next great movie. Ryan Reynolds may be a living superhero, but even Batman needs to retreat to his cave eventually.

Imaginary Friends is a fantasy comedy about a man (Ryan Reynolds) who can see other people’s imaginary friends and befriend them. These quirky little apparitions have developed a mind of their own and they aren’t happy about being discarded. All hell breaks loose when they start seeking revenge on their original owners, affecting the very fabric of reality in the process. And it’s up to our mystery Everyman to stop them and somehow maintain order. Imaginary Friends stars Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Fiona Shaw. Krasinski is writing and directing. It’s currently in pre-production.