Written By: Jeff Wilser

Say goodbye to the old Ryan Reynolds. You know—the tall, funny, skinny kid from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. And say hello to the new one: ass-kicking, bulked-up action star. In Blade: Trinity, Reynolds put on what looks like 40 pounds of muscle, joining Wesley Snipes as a mofo vampire-slayer.

His character, Hannibal King, is hands-down the best part of Trinity. Hannibal is irreverent, snarky, and swaggering, and Reynolds jumped at the chance to play him. “To be a superhero that doesn’t take himself too seriously is a dream come true.” he says. “I felt that David Goyer imbued some of the character traits that I loved about Indiana Jones into this guy.”

Whereas Blade is gloomy and stoic, Hannibal is chipper and fickle. Reynolds says that this contrast was evident not just in the movie, but on the set, as well. “There’s a bit of Wesley in Blade, and there’s a bit of Blade in Wesley. He’s very much a method actor. That’s his style when he’s on the set, and that’s his style when he’s off the set. It’s intimidating, that’s for sure. I’ve never worked with a method actor before, with a guy that stays in character all the time.” He pauses. “Wesley is very intimidating. He’s an intimidating guy. He started this franchise and he’s done very well in it. You don’t want to get there and upset the apple cart.”

Reynolds is shirtless for much of the film, showing off his added bulk. The look didn’t come through 8 minutes a day of Bowflex. It was a bitch. “I’m not a guy who can bulk up very easily. It was seven months of one-track mind and utter focus. Three hour workout sessions and then you go into a 15-hour workday shooting the movie. It was intense.”

Before this bootcamp-ish regimen, his most demanding exercise was, well, hiking. “When I asked the trainer if I could get ripped by hiking, he didn’t find that funny or possible at all. I just think that there’s better things to do with your life than spend so much time in the gym. When I do any movie I’m pretty dedicated, to a fault, almost—it really wreaks havoc on your personal life. So when you finish the movie, you want to free up that time—I’m in a relationship, I need to cuddle with my baby.”

In a twist from the usual action-movie tropes, Hannibal is the one that gets beaten up by a girl and then has to get rescued by another girl. “I get my ass kicked by a woman. Routinely. What I love about this movie is that Hannibal King is the damsel-in-distress. And Jessica Biel’s character Abigail is the one that’s the vampire-annihilation machine. It was great. I love anything in this world that turns something up on its ear a little bit.”

Hannibal’s enemy is an evil-vampire-bitch named Danica Talos, played gleefully played by Parker Posey. The vampire-bitch usually kicks his ass. Reynolds gushes about Posey as an actor and as a person, but then pauses. “The woman’s an awful kicker though. She kicked me in the face about three times while we were shooting. And those heels hurt.”