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Deadpool's screenwriters praise Fox for letting them make the film right

02.15.2016

First off, wow, I had little doubt that DEADPOOL fans would eat the film up, but I had my doubts about how the film would be received by the general public. DEADPOOL's incredibly profitable opening has laid to rest any concerns I once had about the films widespread appeal. It's still too early to see what sort of effect DEADPOOL's success will have on future films, but it must be incredibly gratifying for Tim Miller, Ryan Reynolds, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick to have their years long journey validated. Reese and Wernick sat down for an interview with Creative Screenwriting and laid out the long and difficult road that led to DEADPOOL

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were hired to write DEADPOOL the same year the character first appeared on-screen in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, but as Rhett Reese puts it, they just couldn't get Fox to sign off.

We wrote a draft of the screenplay in pretty much every single calendar year between then and 2015, and we wrote a PG-13 version and we wrote a cheaper version. We just did everything in our power to convince them to trust us, and we just couldn’t make it happen. It was really grueling. Then during the movie itself we were on set every day and we worked in post a fair amount. It was just a really grueling labor of love, and hopefully now it will have a happy ending.

Paul Wernick added:

For a lot of writers and filmmakers the little independent movie is their passion project – the one that they can’t seem to get made for whatever reason because it’s too small of a drama, or the budget doesn’t fit into some particular category. Here we were sitting with essentially a Marvel superhero comic that turned out to be our favorite script we’ve ever written and we couldn’t get it made. It was so terribly frustrating. We kept trying to push the ball up the hill and the ball kept rolling back and crushing us. There was a point in time at our lowest – and we hit some fairly low lows on this project – where Rhett and I looked at each other and said, “You know, if we can’t get this movie made, we shouldn’t be screenwriting anymore. We shouldn’t be doing this because if we can’t get this made I don’t think we can get anything made!”

Thankfully, after many drafts and many attempts to get Fox on-board, the pair succeeded once the new Fox regime let them "do what we wanted to do and what needed to be done to reinvent Deadpool on screen after X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Paul Wernick praised Fox for their very bold decision, even if it was six years late.

When you think about it, it’s 20th Century Fox, which is a very traditional studio, and the kind of things they let us get away with is unimaginable. I always quote the line that Rhett wrote that Vanessa says right at the end about Deadpool’s face: “It’s a face I’d be happy to sit on,” When Rhett wrote that and I read it, I loved it and it’s one of my favorite lines in the movie. But I thought to myself, “Fox is never, ever going to make this movie.” [Laughs] Again, God bless Fox for letting us do it right and letting us do it the way it really needed to be done. It was a very, very bold decision; one that took six years to make, but God bless them for making it because they let us make it right.

Rhett Reese on including Colossus in the film:

I think every lunatic needs a straight man for comedy to work, and Deadpool is so particular in his boundary-pushing and the unacceptable nature of the things that come out of his mouth. We thought it would be fun to provide him with a foil who’s more of a goody two-shoes and more of a prude and Colossus just seemed like that right guy. He hadn’t really been developed in the X-Men movies so there was fertile territory there. He just seemed like the right guy to stick opposite Deadpool who is always shaking his head and thinking, “What am I doing around this lunatic?”

Paul Wenrick on identifying themselves as "The Real Heroes Here" in the opening credits:

We came up with that actually. We just figured that it was a fun nod to the heartache as we’ve had on this thing over the last six and a half years. Screenwriters aren’t at the top of the food chain in the feature world. They often should be, but sometimes they take second billing. It was a fun, fun way for us to poke fun at the hierarchy. We had heroic moments for sure on this movie.

Rhett Reese added that it felt like "it was a way of being meta even in the credits. Deadpool knows he’s in a movie and we kind of wanted you as the audience to know right away that there is a writer behind this and they know they’re in a movie so they’re tooting their own horns in the credits. There was something kind of ironically funny about that to us." DEADPOOL is currently playing in theaters, so perhaps you'd like to stop reading this and go see it? Make sure to let us know what you thought about the film!

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