Actor and producer Ryan Reynolds has launched The Group Effort Initiative, a new diversity and inclusion program that aims to develop talent from underrepresented groups in Hollywood. The program, run through his production banner Maximum Effort, plans to bring 10 to 20 trainees who are people of color or who are from marginalized communities regardless of age. Reynolds will pay to house and train them for his next feature film, giving them real-life film experience. The money to do it will come out of Reynolds' personal salary, and the idea will be to keep the trainees on set so that they can learn by doing.
If all goes according to plan, the first feature that The Group Effort Initiative will be represented on will be Reynolds' forthcoming time-travel movie from Free Guy and Night at the Museum filmmaker Shawn Levy. Ideally the film will begin production this fall in Vancouver, British Columbia, although that will depend on local regulations and the spread of the pandemic between now and then.
"I've had a front-row seat to the immense talent of so many artisans, storytellers and experts," Reynolds told The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Reynolds released a video about the program on Twitter, which you can watch below.
The Group Effort Initiative is designed to invest in the talent and creativity of any and all under-represented communities who’ve felt this industry didn’t have room for their dreams. To register yourself, go to: https://t.co/DXMM9VuPhL #GroupEffort #MaximumEffort pic.twitter.com/TJ0FGUMe2l— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 31, 2020
Reynolds and his team worked with Dr. Stacy Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to help design the program. Those interested in taking part can sign up at this site. Per a statement from Reynolds, specifics for the shoot are still being finalized, but registrants will be updated as things begin to solidify, via the email address they use on the site, in the coming weeks.
"A film crew is a family. The more diverse and representative it is, the better the outcome," Levy told THR, adding that he and his production company are proud to be part of it.