Ryan Reynolds Possessed By Oscar Winner In This Forgotten Sci-Fi Thriller

By Britta DeVore | Updated

ryan reynolds
Ryan Reynolds in Self/less (2015)

Sure, you’ve seen him as a man possessed in the unnecessary 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror, but have you caught Ryan Reynolds possessed by Ben Kingsley in 2015’s Self/less? Directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals), the sci-fi thriller sees Kingsley’s gravely ill character step into the younger body of Reynolds’ character and take things for a spin. Now streaming on Peacock, the film is a must-watch for any fans of body swaps.

Self/less, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley, is streaming on Peacock.

In Self/less, Ben Kingsley stars as a business mogul named Damian Hale. When he’s given terminal diagnosis, Hale uses his money and power to elongate his life. With the help of a brainy scientist, Hale’s consciousness is moved into the body of Ryan Reynolds’s Mark Bitwell, changing both of their lives forever.

Along with Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley, Self/less also stars the likes of Matthew Goode (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister), Natalie Martinez (The I-Land), Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher), and Victor Garber (Titanic). Just pushing past its production budget of $26 million, the title would come to earn $30 million at the global box office. Overall, the film didn’t necessarily hit a high note with critics or audiences, receiving lackluster feedback upon its arrival.

Adding to the mythos of the film, Ryan Reynolds wasn’t the only leading man to step foot into the home used in those New Orleans scenes. Interview with the Vampire was also shot there.

Though body-swap features have had a long-standing place in cinematic history (just look at the classic Nicolas Cage and John Travolta film, Face/Off), the Ryan Reynolds-led Self/less seemed to mirror John Frankenheimer’s Seconds.

ryan reynolds
Self/less (2015)

Like Ben Kingsley’s dying character, Seconds also centers on the story of a man looking for a new lease on life, willing to throw money at an experiment that will see him take on a much younger appearance. Starring in Seconds was one of the biggest names of the day, Rock Hudson.

As for the larger-than-life filming locations of Self/less, the cast and crew traveled to New Orleans to shoot scenes in Commander’s Palace and the Howling Wolf.

Adding to the mythos of the film, Ryan Reynolds wasn’t the only leading man to step foot into the home used in those New Orleans scenes. Interview with the Vampire was also shot there. Adding an extra layer of celebrity to it, that same residence was once owned by Nicolas Cage.

Ben Kingsley in Self/less (2015)

In one scene, which takes place before Ryan Reynolds’s character has been given the consciousness of Damian Hale, audiences will see Hale in his decked-out apartment high above the streets of Manhattan. For this, the production team looked no further than asking Donald and Melania Trump to use a three-story penthouse in Trump Tower.

No stranger to a good body swap flick, Ryan Reynolds’s appearance in Self/less was one of many performances that saw the Deadpool actor trading places with someone else. Also included in the lineup is Mitch Marcus’s 2000 film, Boltneck, David Dobkin’s 2011 comedy, The Change-Up, Robert Schwentke’s cult action flick R.I.P.D., and, most recently, Ariel Vroman’s 2016 thriller, Criminal.

ryan reynolds
Self/less (2015)

The Status Of Deadpool 3

As for what’s next in Ryan Reynolds’s lengthy career, Marvel fans around the world have been on the edge of their seats waiting for his anti-hero’s return in Deadpool 3. Set to be an on-track title coming from the studio, it’s looking more and more likely that the film will be pushed back as the SAG-AFTRA strike rages on.

Initially, it caught the attention of audiences who are used to seeing Marvel push back release dates, instead bumping the title up a handful of months. But now, it seems unlikely the project will be completed in time for its May 3, 2024 release.

Still, Deadpool 3 is shaping up to be a terrific addition to Marvel’s Phase Five. Along with Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as the crass and sarcastic titular anti-hero, the film will also see the return of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Also surprising audiences was the announcement that Jennifer Garner would be reprising her role as Elektra from the early 2000s Daredevil and Elektra films. 

Ryan Reynolds isn’t the only familiar Deadpool family member set to make a comeback in the film with Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams, Stefan Kapičić, Rob Delaney, Shioli Kutsuna, and Karan Soni also reprising their roles from previous films. Finally, The Crown’s Emma Corrin will appear in the film as the primary antagonist with Matthew Macfadyen joining in an undisclosed role.

While you stay tuned for more news on Deadpool 3, catch Ryan Reynolds in Self/less now streaming on Peacock.