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Mar 18, 9:17 PM EDT

Bromance between Gyllenhaal and Reynolds filming 'Life'

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- There's a bromance brewing between actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.

The Hollywood stars say they hit it off so well during the filming of their new sci-fi thriller called "Life" that a genuine friendship has blossomed. The movie, about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station who find an alien life form from Mars, is premiering Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin.

The "Brokeback Mountain" and "Deadpool" stars were mostly all jokes during rounds of press interviews prior to the film's premier, answering most questions with a back-and-forth comedy shtick. But they turned serious when asked about the connection formed on set.

"You do these films and get to work with really amazing people, really talented people and you think 'oh I'm going to hang out with these people afterward and see them again,'" said Reynolds. "You don't most of the time because you go on living your life. But with this guy, we've stayed friends. That's a lucky thing. It doesn't always happen."

Some of the first signs of the newly-forged bond came earlier this week when Reynolds gave high praise to Gyllenhaal on Good Morning America, calling him one of the most interesting actors currently working in Hollywood. Reynolds said Saturday that his co-star is "one the greatest actors of this generation."

"I loved working with this guy," he said. "I loved spending time with this guy. It's not often you get this experience."

Gyllenhaal was equally complimentary, saying Reynolds's role last year as a foul-mouthed superhero is exactly what he strives for -a performance so authentic that it would be nearly impossible for another actor to duplicate.

"We sort of grew up in this business together without knowing each other until very recently," Gyllenhaal said. "It's hard in a business where ... a lot of times we're pretending to get closer to the truth and to find somebody who you feel is genuine. I feel that way about him, so we're friends."

The movie plot draws some notable parallels to Ridley Scott's 1979 classic "Alien," tracking a team of scientists on a spaceship who encounter an alien life form that wreaks havoc. Their discovery- the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars-turns out to be a threat not only to the crew but to all life on Earth.

But even with the backdrop of a sci-fi heart pounder, Gyllenhaal says he and Reynolds found some levity throughout the filming.

"This experience of what's happening right now was consistent to what it felt like while we were shooting," Gyllenhaal said in between puns served as answers to questions. "We had really scary situations in the movie and scenes that were really tense, but we were laughing constantly and it was so much fun."

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