The pair have been keeping fans entertained with their hilarious antics as they promote their new movie Life

By Ale Russian and Kristen O'Brien
March 23, 2017 01:59 PM
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The pair have been keeping fans entertained with their hilarious antics as they promote their new outer-space thriller Life — and PEOPLE’s interview in this week’s issue is no different. Their bond was on full display as they complimented each other — and Reynolds blushed! — while they joked about being up for the same roles. But as tight as they may seem, this is actually the first time the two have worked together.

“We met maybe seven or eight years ago, but we’ve never worked together before,” Reynolds, 40, tells PEOPLE. “Jake — I am going to talk about him as if he were not here — is one of the most interesting actors working in this crazy business right now. But what I did not expect is that we would hit it off as friends the way we did.”

Gyllenhaal agrees, saying, “I just thought, ‘What a genuinely good man.’ He is good to other people; he is such a good dad; he is such a good husband. And he is one of the funniest and, honestly, one of the smartest actors that I’ve ever worked with. And I am not very smart, so I am probably a bad judge of that, but he seems very smart to me.”

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Credit: Eric Charbonneau

And Reynolds felt it too, joking that his “skin feels like it’s on fire.” Gyllenhaal meant it — he says he would say the same things about the Deadpool actor even “if we weren’t selling a movie!”

But have the two ever been up for the same role? “I don’t know — I don’t read scripts without pictures so there are a lot of things I don’t know,” Reynolds jokes. “There have been many times where someone has pitched a movie to me and they’d have the visuals along with the screenplay and it’s, like, pictures of Ryan as the character,” Gyllenhaal counters, making Reynolds crack up.

One thing the jokesters can agree on is their love of one particular ’80s movie when it comes to their favorite space-adventure film. “I mean, Spaceballs was one of my favorites,” Gyllenhaal says, while Reynolds adds that it’s “huge! One of the best.”

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Credit: Columbia Pictures (2)

Gyllenhaal and Reynolds in Life

Another? How much admiration they have for each other’s careers. Reynolds praises Gyllenhaal’s ability to get lost in a role — something he hasn’t mastered. “There’s an immersive quality to the way you approach your work that I admire in a huge way,” he says to Gyllenhaal. “I see you vanish into these roles and that’s something that I think is unbelievable. I wish I had the ability to vanish the way you do, but I don’t. I’m not being self-deprecating — I just mean it, like, it’s something that I have a huge admiration for.”

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For his part, Gyllenhaal wishes he could replicate what Reynolds was able to do in Deadpool. “As an artist, what I see and what I admire so deeply, and what Ryan has achieved that I have yet to in that creative space, is when you’ve created a character that is so unique that nobody else can do it,” the Sunday in the Park with George actor says.

Life, which also costars Rebecca Ferguson, is in theaters Friday.