First published in 2003, the four-issue comic book series R.I.P.D. tells the story of a police force made up of officers who are on their second tour of duty, now working with the Rest In Peace Department. These officers can move between the real world and the netherworld and are charged with patrolling the afterlife and capturing “Deados” — spirits that have failed to “cross over” after death and instead return to Earth as murderous ghosts.
Having led the team charged with translating some of Dark Horse Comics’ most popular titles into film (including The Mask, Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army), company founder Mike Richardson sensed that the R.I.P.D. comics — which he first heard a pitch for in the late ’90s — could also be adapted for the big screen. Ultimately, the project took a number of years to get off the ground, but once it did, several big-name stars were attracted to the film adaptation, including Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker.
Reynolds joined the team early in the process, signing on to play the part of Nick, a recently slain cop who finds that even death cannot get him off the force. Enthusiastic about the role and keen to take a more active part in the project’s development, he also took on the responsibilities of an executive producer. “The script has been through all sorts of iterations, and finally landed on this current version,” Reynolds says. “I love the comic and our script takes its essence, as well as its basic plotlines and devices and uses that. There’s a bit of tragedy and a love story wrapped up in this incredibly funny, charming movie, which is a hard thing to pull off.”
Joining Reynolds in the other lead role is Bridges, who plays Roy. Having recently completed True Grit, Bridges wasn’t initially looking to inhabit another cowboy role on the big screen. However, the similarities between Roy’s comedic style and those of another favorite Bridges role —The Dude in The Big Lebowski — piqued his curiosity. Bridges and his team were aware of the R.I.P.D. script and tracked its progress until he felt it was right to approach the team. “I threw my name into the hat, and I’m lucky I got the gig. I’ve had a really good time.”
R.I.P.D. is available starting Oct. 22 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2013 Universal Studios
Credit Universal Pictures