These days, Ryan Reynolds is one of Hollywood's highest-paid stars thanks to his success as the foul-mouthed superhero star of 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool" movies. But more than two decades ago, Reynolds was happy just to make $150 a day for his first professional acting gig.
"For me, I thought I was, like, a gajillionaire," Reynolds told Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan in an interview that aired on ABC in 2016. "For $150 a day, it was like a dream come true."
Now, Reynolds is primed for a much bigger payday with 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool 2" sequel hitting theaters on Friday.
Reynolds got $2 million in base salary for starring in the first "Deadpool" two year ago, while the actor also reportedly received several million dollars more in bonuses after that movie set box-office records. According to Forbes, Reynolds was one of Hollywood's 20 highest-paid actors last year, pulling in $21.5 million.
In the 2016 interview, Ripa and Strahan played a clip from what Reynolds said was his first-ever acting job, a teen soap opera called "Fifteen" that aired on Nickelodeon. ("Where did you find that?!" a surprised Reynolds said in response to the clip of his younger self, sporting a '90s bowl cut.) In 1991, Reynolds appeared in 13 episodes of the series as a 15-year-old named Billy Simpson.
"I remember we were paid 150 bucks per episode," Reynolds said, noting that the TV show was not his only source of employment at that time. "And I still had a paper route," he said. "So I would do my TV show and then I'd go home and do my paper route each day."
Reynolds also told Ripa and Strahan that he actually hated being a child actor and that he quit acting for a couple of years after the Nickelodeon show. (Reynold's next acting entry on IMDB is the 1993 movie "Ordinary Magic.") Taking a break from acting allowed a teenaged Reynolds to get what he describes as "some real-life experience."
"After that, I ended up working at a warehouse and I worked at a restaurant for two years," he said in the interview. "It's actually good, I'm glad I did that because I didn't end up like a child actor with some depraved drug addiction."
Of course, Reynolds eventually made acting his full-time career. He later landed a breakout role in the 2002 college comedy Van Wilder before playing memorable parts in other comedies such as 2005's "Waiting…" and 2009's "Adventureland."
In 2011, Reynolds received his first shot at leading a superhero movie in the Warner Bros. film "Green Lantern." But, after that movie flopped at the box office (grossing just under $220 million worldwide on a reported $200 million production budget, according to Box Office Mojo), Reynolds' career stalled somewhat as Hollywood seemed reluctant to give the actor another shot at leading a big-budget production.
But 2016's "Deadpool" shot Reynolds to the top of the box-office charts — the movie grossed over $780 million worldwide, the most ever for an R-rated film — and back in the good graces of comic-book fans.
Now, the actor is doing well enough financially that he decided to invest some of his earnings by paying an undisclosed amount for an ownership stake in Oregon-based liquor company Aviation Gin in February.
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