He's not the self-pitying type, and frankly he knows better than to dwell on the negative. "I'm not an idiot," he says. "I know my station in life. It's not like I've got the chips stacked against me. I'm in a very lucky and fortunate place." What's striking when you talk to him isn't the humility but the sense of holy-shit wonder he's maintained through the recent massive uptick in his Hollywood standing. When he got the Safe House gig, he found himself wandering around the back lot at Universal with director Daniel Espinosa. "We're around the same age, which is sort of amazing," he says. "We've both had a couple moments where we scratched our heads and said, 'We get to do this, really?' I was just overwhelmed by the distance I'd traveled. I remembered walking down that very same street maybe 10 years ago, just shrouded in a sea of abject failure. I had, like, a stick with a handkerchief with some dry, stale bread in it and that was all. I got this vibe that Daniel was feeling something similar. We stopped and I just said, 'This is a moment in time worth remembering.' That can still happen, and I hope those moments happen when I'm 50 as well."
"Maybe you read only about his comedies," Espinosa says. "But he really surprised me with his intelligence and the depth of his thought process. You need to have that, you know? If there's no oil at the bottom, it doesn't matter how far you dig—you'll end up with sand."
In the interest of full disclosure, and because Reynolds and I are two guys drinking whiskey at a hotel bar half a world away from home, I tell Reynolds about my own marital meltdown. "Relationships ending move you from who you were to who you are at a much more accelerated rate than almost anything else on earth," Reynolds says, seemingly as much for my sake as about his own experience.
Being careful not to speak for Johansson, he is proud of how the two came through it. "Departing a relationship and still maintaining the idea that this is still the same person I married is a great luxury that I experienced. Thankfully I was in a relationship where two people chose to remain on the high road in every regard."
And yet there's no getting around the fact that it changes you, for better or for worse, and probably, truthfully, nobody knows what it all means.
"You've got walls up in a way you didn't before," he admits. "But you're also open to things in a way you weren't before. I have no interest in dating right now. It just seems so kind of alien to me at this point. I've been in relationships pretty much since high school. Some people look at that as a good thing. I think wiser people might see that as a house of cards."
Of course, there's the pretty German model he's been seen with around Cape Town. That's his business, but more to the point, he seems content to be his own man for a while and wait to see where the next adventure takes him.
"I'm very happy not to be in a relationship right now. That's okay. I didn't plan on it, that's for sure . . . but that's okay."