Ryan's parents are Jim, who was a Vancouver food wholesaler, and Tammy, was a retail-store saleswoman. Ryan is the youngest of four children. Two of his brothers are cops.
Between 1991-93, Ryan taped Fifteen
(1991), a "cheesy" Nickleodeon series, in Florida when he was only 13. After the series ended, he returned to Vancouver where he played in a series of forgettable made-for-TV movies. He did catch roles in Glenn Close
's Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story
(1995) (TV) and CBS's update of In Cold Blood
However, his run of luck had led him to decide to quit acting. One night, he ran into fellow Vancouver actor and native Chris Martin
told Ryan to pack everything. They were going to head to L.A., where they stayed in a cheap motel. On the first night of their stay, Reynold's jeep was stolen and stripped. For the next four months, Ryan drove it without doors.
In 1997, he landed the role in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place
(1998). Initially, the show was reviled by critics and seemed shaky for any type of ratings success. But it was renewed for a second season. The show became a minor success and has led to many additional film roles.