Ryan Reynolds has to save the universe. But first, he has to get out of a coffin buried six feet below the Iraqi desert. Reynolds, 33, who will play the superhero Green Lantern in the upcoming movie, first completed a very different sort of film. 

Reynolds stars in the film Buried, directed by Rodrigo Cortes, a 94-minute thriller that takes place entirely in a coffin. The movie follows a contractor kidnapped and buried alive in Iraq, with only 90 minutes to escape. But the final product was not the result of green screen wizardry or CGI manipulation. The filming actually took place in a wooden box over 17 grueling days of production.

The star was not initially keen on the movie’s concept. "I just thought, ‘there’s no possible way that could be any good,’" he told GQ. Blake Lively, his Green Lantern co-star, had to agree. "As much as I like Ryan, I thought, ‘I don’t think I can watch anybody in a box for an hour and a half," she said.

But Reynolds couldn’t resist the challenge. "People keep saying, ‘Oh, what a risky move to do a movie like that.’ And I keep saying, ‘Well, it’s the least risky movie you could ever do, because if it doesn’t work, nobody will ever see it—it’s about a guy in a coffin.’" Shooting was definitely not comfortable, he admitted, calling the box "a sleeping bag made of wood, agony and blood" in the Vancouver Sun. The tortures of the box were not just physical. "There were days where I had legitimate panic attacks and I’d be talked down," he said. Buried will be released on October 8. –AMY LEE



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