Ryan Reynolds launches diversity program to train minorities to work in film
The actor will use his own salary to pay and house trainees to work on his productions, starting with his movie this fall —"COVID willing."
"Making a film is a group effort," says Ryan Reynolds, "but for entirely too long that group has systemically excluded Black, indigenous, people of color, and several other marginalized communities. This is a global problem, which will not be fixed overnight, but change can start locally and immediately."
For his part, the Deadpool actor today launched the Group Effort Initiative, a diversity program that will help train more people of color to work in the film industry by giving them real experience working on his films.
The first of Reynolds' movies that will adopt this program, "COVID willing," he says, will be an upcoming time-travel film. Reynolds stars in the untitled release for director Shawn Levy, the Stranger Things producer who previously helmed Reynolds in the movie Free Guy (set for theaters this Dec. 11).
Assuming the pandemic does not derail their planned fall filming schedule, Reynolds pledges to recruit 10-20 trainees "who are Black, indigenous, people of color, or people from marginalized and excluded communities." He will pay them, house them, and cover their travel expenses out of his own salary.
They will then "spend their days on set learning from professionals and getting real-life experience that they can then parlay into another job and another job and hopefully a career in the film industry," Reynolds adds. Details for applications and the filming schedule will be sent out in the coming weeks, but interested parties can register on the newly launched website for the Group Effort Initiative.
Other upcoming projects on Reynolds' plate, also pending COVID-19 developments, include a live-action Dragon's Lair game adaptation for Netflix, a new Clue movie, and a musical version of A Christmas Carol for Apple TV+.
"This is a long-overdue action, but I've got to thank Netflix and I have to thank [production company] Skydance for letting us do this," Reynolds says in a video message accompanying the announcement. "And since it's called Group Effort, we're hoping that people with the privilege that I'm lucky enough to experience will join in that effort."
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the news.