Ryan Reynolds recalls thinking his career was over after he accidentally punched Denzel Washington during the filming of the movie “Asylum.” Reynolds has risen to the top of the Hollywood pile in recent years as the star of big blockbusters like Deadpool and The Free Guy. Meanwhile, Washington continues to strengthen its reputation as one of the most respected actors in the world, appearing from time to time in action films such as The Equalizer.
But back in 2012, the paths of Reynolds and Washington crossed when they both starred in the action-packed thriller “Asylum”. In the film directed by “Morbius” Daniel Espinosa, Reynolds starred as a CIA officer tasked with keeping an eye on a veteran Washington operative who is accused of betraying the agency. Since the film is an action movie, the titled safe house is soon attacked by mercenaries, as a result of which Reynolds and Washington are forced to flee.
This scenario about the fugitives really became the reason for a lot of intense action scenes. But one scene actually got a little out of control, as Reynolds recently told David Letterman on the Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” As Reynolds recalled, the problems started when he and Washington were packed into a car for a big action sequence (via Insider):
“There’s a scene in the movie… where he climbs through the trunk from behind, grabs me and strangles me. We were really driving the car at top speed. He and I are in this out—of-control car, and the corner of my head-I felt it hit him in the eye so hard that I was sure he was wide open… I think I’ll be sent home through the crematorium — like, it’s over now, everything, not only my career, but my real pulse will stop… He was fine. He’s like, “Hey, accidents happen. Let’s do it again. I don’t see it… We did it again. I have another eye, Dave. For a minute, it looked like a Christmas ornament.”
Fortunately, Washington apparently was a pro at getting Reynolds to punch him in the eye when he just kept shooting the movie. On the one hand, the end result may not have been worth the agony, as Safe House has only a 53% score on Rotten Tomatoes and is largely forgotten ten years after its release. But at the time, the film was actually a reasonable-sized hit, grossing $208 million at the box office, probably mostly thanks to the star power of Reynolds and Washington. So maybe that’s the reason Washington didn’t mind taking one or two for the team.
Of course, in the years since “Asylum,” Reynolds has become one of the most profitable stars in the world, starring in such huge blockbusters as “Deadpool” and “Detective Pikachu.” So it’s safe to say that his failure with Washington didn’t hurt his career at all, despite his initial misgivings. Meanwhile, Washington continues to be nominated for an Oscar, having received one last year for his role in The Tragedy of Macbeth. Perhaps somewhere in the future, Reynolds and Washington will have the opportunity to reunite on the screen either in a prestigious film or in an action movie. But hopefully, if they get back together for a Safe House reunion, Reynolds will be able to keep his body under control and no longer harm Washington’s personality.