IN the 3D supernatural action-adventure R.I.P.D., Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of creatures who refuse to move peacefully into the afterlife.
It is through Boston police detective Nick Walker’s (Reynolds) eyes that the audience is drawn into this divine order of law enforcement. A hard-charging detective who knows how to work the system, Nick pays the ultimate price when he is killed in the line of duty during a routine drug bust. Facing final judgment and unsure of what fate holds in store, Nick is given an offer he can’t refuse: Either take his thug-busting talents and pay a penance of 100 years of service in the R.I.P.D. or face an uncertain judgment in the afterlife. Propelled by the desire to find his murderer and reunite with his wife—and convinced he can sidestep the department’s strict rules—Nick opts for an assignment with the R.I.P.D. and begins an eternal education.
Early in the project’s genesis, Reynolds joined the film to portray the slain detective who has a big surprise awaiting him in the afterlife. Enthusiastic about the role and keen to take a more active part in the development, Reynolds also signed on as an executive producer.
“The script has been through all sorts of iterations, and finally landed on this current version,” he shares. “I love the comic and our script takes its essence, as well as its basic plotlines and devices, and uses that. There’s a bit of tragedy and a love story wrapped up in this incredibly funny, charming movie, which is a hard thing to pull off.”
The core scenes in the movie—the true character comedy, what sets the movie apart—remain close to what was written from the very beginning.
This period turned out to be most rewarding for the team as the direction of the film was solidified—especially when the filmmakers discovered they had a fan in Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, who would come aboard in the role of grizzled Sheriff Roycephus “Roy” Pulsifer
Fresh off his Oscar-nominated tour de force in True Grit, Bridges wasn’t initially looking to inhabit another cowboy role on the big screen. However, Roy’s subtle comedic panache—one reminiscent of Bridges’ turn as The Dude in the cult classic The Big Lebowski—piqued his curiosity. Bridges and his represen-tatives had been aware of the R.I.P.D. script and had been tracking its progress until he felt it was the right time to approach the team. He recounts: “I threw my name into the hat and I’m lucky I got the gig. I’ve had a really good time.”
After serving several tours of duty for multiple infractions in the department, Roy has a weary “been-there, seen-that” attitude. Save his lone-gun style and persnickety ways, this R.I.P.D lawman is the best of the best and knows every trick in the cosmic universe. Even in the afterlife, Roy still has his demons; he carries several hundred years of grudges and baggage from his past, especially toward the coyotes that picked his bones clean after he was shot. Despite his musings of Zen-like detachment and trying to let go, Roy hasn’t dealt well with his own history . . . even though he believes he’s made peace.
The constant friction between the two mismatched cops drives the comedy throughout R.I.P.D. But even as Roy schools Nick in the rules of engagement or waxes poetic on life, love and the pursuit of Deados (laws-of-nature-defying souls that refuse to move on), the old coot offers up the rare insight that resonates with the rookie. “Occasionally, Roy produces a real nugget of wisdom, but usually it’s pretty tried and true,” laughs Reynolds. “He’s got 200 years of experience working in this world, and he knows there’s no way to reach out to loved ones left behind. With Roy’s guidance, Nick discovers that he’s haunting his wife and not connecting with her.”
Starring alongside Bridges and Reynolds are Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker,Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, Marisa Miller, Robert Knepper, Mike O’malley and Devin Ratray.
R.I.P.D. is now showing in cinemas nationwide and is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.