Ryan Reynolds Launches Diversity Program “The Group Effort Initiative” (Exclusive)

Putting his money where his mouth is, Reynolds will pay and house 10 to 20 trainees on his next feature project.

Ryan Reynolds has launched The Group Effort Initiative, a self-financed diversity and inclusion program that aims to give people of color a chance to work and learn on the actor’s productions.

The program, run through his production banner Maximum Effort, plans to bring 10 to 20 trainees who are black, indigenous, other people of color or who are from marginalized communities across the age spectrum, giving them real-life film experience.

The new recruits will be paid and housed out of Reynolds’ own salary and will spend their days on set, learning from professionals with the goal that their learning will act as a springboard to another job, creating a domino effect that places them on a path for a career in the film industry.

“I’ve had a front-row seat to the immense talent of so many artisans, storytellers and experts,” Reynolds said in an exclusive statement to THR. “Being a member of a film crew is a special experience — but that privilege hasn’t been extended to everyone. There’s a ton of untapped talent out there. This action is the right thing to do, but it’s worth noting that inclusivity will also make our industry stronger and more dynamic. We will tell better stories.”

The Group Effort Initiative is eyeing Reynolds’ untitled time-travel adventure feature as its first project. That thriller is being directed by Shawn Levy for Netflix and Skydance and is prepping for a fall shoot in Vancouver, Canada. The project’s production standing, however, is dependent on the state of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“A film crew is a family. The more diverse and representative it is, the better the outcome,” said Levy, adding he and his company, 21 Laps, were honored to be part of the initiative.

Reynolds and his team worked with Dr. Stacy Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to help design the program, whose details can be found here.

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