Set Visit: Deadpool - Interviews with Ryan Reynolds, Tim Miller, & more!
Set visits typically lead you to strange, dark places where people tell you their secrets. And, sometimes, they lead to a makeshift tent in Vancouver where the cast and crew of DEADPOOL assemble to talk about the long-awaited adaptation of Marvel Comics' favorite mutant bad boy. Huddled in plastic chairs, armed with our notepads, recorders, and lists of well-thought out questions we rarely get to ask, my fellow journo's and me attempted to pry out as many details about the Merc with the Mouth's first big-screen entry as we could, starting with the two men at the forefront of bringing it to life: Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller. Both men were playful, crude, insightful, genuine, and passionate with what they had to say about DEADPOOL and it's a really fun interview all around. Carve out some time and give it a read. It's well worth it.
After that, we have screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, two guys who stayed the course with the film and offer some great perspective on leaks, inspiration, fucking up Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, pushing the limits of an R-Rating, and much, much more. Both were candid as hell and obviously excited to see thier long-gestating script finally come to life.
Lastly, we talked to Executive Producer John Kelly, answering questions about the challenges of the shoot itself, the budget, shooting on digital, 3D plans and more. All interesting bits about what the head cheeses are thinking in terms of releasing this mammoth foul-mouthed epic next year. Dig in!
Q: Is the fact that we’re in Vancouver have anything to do with the fact that you’re from Vancouver?
RYAN: Uh, y’know, the shooting location was not up to me, it was a huge proponent in Vancouver, but it wasn’t-the final call was-
TIM: He’s totally getting a kickback.
RYAN: Big time kickback. My menacing mother every Sunday that’s what the kickback was.
TIM: His mom is very hot. Have you met-?
RYAN: Yeah, Tim said he wanted to hit that!
TIM: I did.
RYAN: That’s when I knew I loved Tim.
TIM: It was a very uncomfortable moment.
RYAN: No, I was very comfortable with it. Can I call you dad? Will you be my new dad?
TIM: (LAUGHS) That’s a little…
RYAN: Right? That would really fuck up the dynamic out there (BOTH LAUGHING)
Q: Was there a time when the light at the tunnel seemed faintest in getting made?
RYAN: Um, yeah. It was pretty faint after Green Lantern (LAUGHS)
TIM: Through darkest…
RYAN: Yeah, darkest days, brightest…(LAUGHS) Um, yeah, wasn’t looking so good then. Honestly, I gotta give credit to Tim there, because Tim sorta kept the faith in a way that I didn’t even, I mean there was a time where I just thought this is- I just gotta let it go. It was like the worst relationship I’d ever been in. It was on/off, on/off, y’know. We created this test footage that I thought spoke volumes about the character and what we could do with it and that never saw the light of day. Until Tim leaked it. (LAUGHS) I did not say that in every interview by the way (LAUGHS).
TIM: I did not leak that footage. (LAUGHS)
RYAN: I say that in every interview by the way.
TIM: I did not leak it, I swear!
RYAN: I had the studio here yesterday and I was like ‘I’m so glad Tim leaked that footage’ (LAUGHS)
TIM: I swear to God I did not leak that footage. I would actually have to give credit to (screenwriters) Rhett and Paul, because literally every other week they would call and say, “Gosh, fuck, this is the best script we’ve ever written, we gotta do something, what can we do?” And then we would try stuff, like, I wrote at least ten or fifteen “who do I have to-“ y’know, to get this movie made . I begged, I pleaded, I did everything.
RYAN: The answer was a lot of people. (LAUGHS)
TIM: But, Rhett and Paul never gave up either. I mean, I really think that they knew this is a great script, it’s just one of those things that it’s hard to see unless you’re a fan of the comic, unless you understand the fans, unless you understand the character, um…I think the public, the non-comic reading public will identify with this, but as a script and a character I think it’s a little tricky for non-Deadpool lovers…
RYAN: What was also great is that Tim isn’t that intimate with the studio system and so I was privy to some of his e-mails to Jim Gianopolus, I was like “You can’t fucking write e-mails like this to the studio head!” But, evidently you can. (LAUGHS) Tim would say just amazing things in those e-mails. He was so passionate about it.
Q: Could you quote one of those e-mails?
RYAN: I cannot at all, not without a very vicious lawsauit (LAUGHS) I think that, in retrospect the studio sorta found that charming in a weird way, because he lacked some of the sorta typical bullshit etiquette that most people have when they’re trying to get their movie made.
TIM: And still do. (LAUGHS)
RYAN: And still does. Yeah. Definitely, definitely.
Q: Why were you so passionate about this character. Why does it talk to you?
RYAN: I just think there’s nothing else that occupies a space quite like it in any universe, in any comic book universe, and it’s been like that for a long time, um, so in a weird way waiting might have served us better than anything, because now’s the time for a movie like this in a way that, y’know, five, six, seven years ago might not have been.
Q: Because of the tone, because of the darkness?
RYAN: Well, every comic book movie I go to nobody fucking dies! I mean, like, everybody’s getting shot at, it’s like an episode of The A-Team, y’know, everyone’s shooting the ground- so, we get an opportunity to do this in a way that follows all the scripture that Deadpool’s laid out, which is fourth-wall breaking, which is, y’know, that kind of mercenary sensibility and humor and then we also have this opportunity, which is very rare in this world, to do something that’s not necessarily for just kids. There’s some pretty racy, pretty hyper-violent things that happen in this movie and it’s been a lot of fun to shoot.
TIM: But, if you know the character you can see why Ryan as a person would be drawn to that character and then you take that character and Ryan was there writing the script with Rhett and Paul and putting his ideas and then you take a character that’s kinda like Ryan and then you put Ryan into his development process and he becomes very much like Ryan until he really IS Ryan and the character, if you knew him, not in this context, but he’s very much like Deadpool-
Q: In what way?
TIM: His humor is the same as Deadpool. He’s just as immature on a daily basis (LAUGHS) as Deadpool is in the film. He’s just-
RYAN: You love it.
TIM: I do love it! It makes me laugh! He’s filthy. He’s so nasty.
Q: Talk about the costume. Was it always what we’re seeing? Were there little tweaks along the way?
RYAN: The costume was tough, it’s always tough, I think on any film.
TIM: It’s all about the whiskering.
RYAN: Yeah, the whiskering (LAUGHS)
TIM: Ryan sent me this note about the costume when we had it and he’s like, “Y’know, I love it except for the whiskering in the crotch” And I had to get out my fashion dictionary to see what actually whiskering was and then I was like, “God damn this guy is like fucking on it with his knowledge of fashion and the costume and stuff.” And then, like two weeks later Ryan was like “Did you think that note was from me? That was my wife” (LAUGHS)
RYAN: She was like, there’s whiskering around there and I was like “Oo, that’s a good word.”
TIM: But she was right and we fixed it. No whiskering now.
RYAN: The costumes are tough-that’s where I really learned a pretty valuable lesson when it comes to this stuff, I think we all did, which was just never to settle. It was like R&D all the way to the first day of shooting. So, it’s tough. You gotta tell people that say it’s impossible, we cannot do this in the-the things you’re asking for are not possible in the amount of time that we have and you have to just go back to them and say “You’re going to have to find a way and just make it happen, because everything depends on this.”
TIM: But, y’know, usually in these costumes, I think it’s worth noting, usually in these costumes you have a-because nobody is so ripped that it can show up underneath this costume, and so, even Superman and all those guys, have a muscle suit underneath, which is pretty cool, a kind of polyurethane kind of thing and so we had one built for Ryan and then-he’s not wearing it. We didn’t need it. We put him on it and he looked fucking jacked, yknow-
RYAN: I looked like a house in it. It was like too much-
TIM: But, the funny thing is he IS jacked. It would shame all of the men in this room if you saw him with his shirt off. Even the stunt guys-he’s huge, and so- We had this moment when he first was changing into costume and I hear him go, “Tim, Tim come in here for a second.” And I said, “Okay.” And I go in there and he’s got his shirt off and he’s like, “Okay, this is as close as we’re going to get to being naked together on this entire process.” But, I mean, he was just showing me how ripped he was. But, then you put him in the costume and it looked TOO big, so we dropped all the muscle suit and that’s all 100 percent USDA Ryan Reynolds underneath. But it looks great because the costume kind of slims him back down, which is to what I think is the quintessential Deadpool. I mean he’s not a super strong guy-
RYAN: We wanted a lithe and kind of a little more slippery than the big beefcake kind of thing, so…
Q: Something that’s kind of a classic Liefeld character design is the pouches and I notice that you have the pouches…
RYAN: I have the pouches. And I have feet (LAUGHS)
TIM: And the tiny feet and tiny hands. (LAUGHS)
RYAN: The pouches, yeah, the pouches-sometimes they have stuff in them, sometimes not. Our Deadpool has a cell phone at times, so, y’know-
TIM: We missed the Liefeld joke with the little hand thing…
RYAN: Oh yeah! Well, there’s still time, technically…
Q: Can you talk about the tantalizing fireside photo that you guys put out. Does this mean it will be a very hypersexualized Deadpool?
TIM: Pansexual! I want that quoted. Pansexual Deadpool.
RYAN: There is some sexuality in this movie for sure. You kinda think, y’know, you have moments when you’re shooting where you think, “This is, uh, a little excessive. This is a comic book movie. Are we gonna get away with this?” But, uh, so far so good. Studio hasn’t crushed us with anything. They were here yesterday, they were thrilled, they saw some cut footage, y'know, so, so far so good. Y’know, we did a photo shoot for an entire day of just different, completely insane things that Deadpool is doing and there’s a lot more to come. They’ll be slowly released.
Q: All Burt Reynolds inspired?
RYAN: No, it wasn’t all Burt inspired. A little Dolly Parton in there. Got some unicorn fucking. A few things, I’m sure a lot, that will never ever see the light of day. Or, maybe they will if I have anything to do with it…
TIM: He was so happy when they were shooting that day. Like, we had just done the make-up tests before, which are, y’know, quite extensive for Ryan, it’s like four hours to get ready and it’s like wearing a wet diaper on your face, according to him. And so he was not that perky. And then the next day was the photo shoot and he was like, just, ecstatic.
RYAN: Yeah, and again I’m in the suit, I’m happy. Make-up is tough though.
Q: Can you talk about the make-up and the balance to make it scary and charming?
RYAN: Yeah, the make-up’s tough on any character or any person that has to wear that kind of thing, because you have to push yourself through it as much as you can, so everything’s a little big bigger and you’re really moving your face a lot more. We have Bill Corso, who’s an Oscar-winning make-up artist , he did Foxcatcher, and he’s a big piece of the puzzle because we specifically, right when we got the green light, we said, we gotta get this guy, we have to have Bill Corso ‘cause he could bring this guy to life in a way that no one else could. I say to Bill a lot of times, “You’re half my performance.” He really is.
TIM: But, I do think that the fans were-there was a lot of relief when they saw the make-up for the first time and they realized we weren’t going to pussy out and not do scars and I think, y’know, there wasn’t a whole lot, but a little pushing to say, y’know, we gotta do this. And, y’know, everybody wants to see Ryan looking beautiful, and we have that, I think, because it’s an origin story. But then, central to this character is this damaged person whose had this horrible thing happen to him and without that it kind of unravels his journey, if you will, and it doesn’t work. And, I think, when you see the movie, you’ll see that without that we couldn’t tap a well of humor around that that really is some of the best jokes in the movie are about just how fucking ugly he is (LAUGHS). T.J. Miller’s got some lines that will kill you, I’m telling you now.
Q: Did you guys mostly stick to the script or did you leave some room open for improvisation?
RYAN: Yeah, it’s a bit of everything. Rhett and Paul are brilliant so what we have on the page is perfect, I thought, so-
TIM: But T.J. Miller was a wild stallion of comedy…
RYAN: Yeah, he really was, yeah he had the gift that kept on giving. Tim had to reign him in. “Just say the fucking line on the page, man. Once. Just say it once on the page.” (LAUGHING)
TIM: But it was great! (LAUGHS)
RYAN: But, the script has been six years in the refinement, so we kinda knew what we wanted there. And then we’d all write some alts, we’d all write, sometimes up to ten alts for one joke, y’know, and then just sort of time allowing we’d narrow ‘em down.
Q: Can you talk about some of the other mutants that may make a cameo or any easter eggs your planning or planting?
RYAN: There are some serious easter eggs in this movie.
TIM: Yeah, there’s a few in the workshop scene that we’ve got that, y’know, that are kind of in the background. And Vanessa, obviously, which we don’t really reveal as her powers anywhere. Um, but not a lot, y’know-
RYAN: Well, there are. There’s a few that are-I think that are gonna be-people are gonna really love, I think, but…yeah.
TIM: You want-go ahead-You tell-
RYAN: No, no, I don’t want to give anything away, I have a big mouth, so, I’m gonna, y’know-
TIM: But I think we’re staying in our dark little corner of the Marvel Universe in a lot of ways. Colossus is kind of our gateway drug into the rest of the X-Men universe. We have some nice scenes with him. I mean, some big scenes with him. I think he’s a perfect straight man. I was so afraid they were gonna make us cut that, um, and change that to someone that wasn’t in the other X-men films, but I’m so glad they didn’t because he’s the perfect straight man.
RYAN: He’s also like a real prude in our movie. You put him next to me and he’s just constantly vomiting in his mouth.
TIM: There was a time when we were figuring out who else should be in it and, y’know, I was really-we had to cut Garrison Kane out, he was a big one we wanted in there-sequel, maybe, if we get so lucky. We had this moment where it was like, we needed a piece of muscle, I thought it would be nice to have a woman in the film in a strong position and so I went through the voluminous archive of characters that Fox controls and there were a few in there there were really goofy, like Harry Ocelot. I’m serious, there’s a character named Harry Ocelot. And I put those on a separate list and said it’s a shame we can’t use these, like Harry Ocelot and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. And, I thought it was a joke and Rhett and Paul said, “Oh my fucking God we gotta use her. It’s gotta be her. It’s gotta be her.” Which was great in hindsight, but, she is kind of an obscure character.
RYAN: Very Obscure.
Q: Where would you place Deadpool’s level of crazy in this movie?
RYAN: Well, it’s-when we meet Wade he’s pretty acerbic and kind of funny in his own right, but not near the level of Deadpool. Deadpool’s just-he has zero ability to stop his mouth, so, y’know, that’s referenced a number of times in the script and the other characters just would do anything to get him to shut up. Anything. Except maybe sew his mouth shut. No one’s doing that.
Q: Rhett and Paul mentioned that you guys would allude to Wolverine Origins, can you talk about some payback to that?
RYAN: No, it’s referenced. I wouldn’t-I don’t want to get into it, I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s in there. There’s a mention or two.
TIM: It’s a little therapy session for Ryan. Inside the movie.
Q: With the costume, you’re going with the white eyes, which is a main staple to the character. How did you get away with that when most superhero movies do away with that?
RYAN: Yeah, we, um- the character’s ripped right out of the comics, that’s what we’re going for. You can’t promise Deadpool fans in the audience the authentic Deapool and then give him a pair of pretty blue eyes. You have to, y’know, make it look the way it’s supposed to look. That’s all. We’re just doing it that way and it works. We’ve tested it a number of different ways and make sure that you still feel the expression through the mask and, y’know, I think there’s gonna be a little-
TIM: -A little animation on top, yeah.
RYAN: -with the eyes, yeah-
TIM: But it’s all based on-so, we’ll take Ryan’s performance and then we’ll just transfer that to a little CGI magic to the mask.
RYAN: It helps to film me without the mask doing all the same lines and then you can just put that on, y’know, and allow it to just-not quite as much, but just allow the mask to move a little bit with the face.
TIM: It helps. I mean, if you saw the tests we kinda did that and it really helps, even if it’s subtle. It really makes a difference with the expressions.
Q: With a background in animation with Blur, how was the transition to live action?
TIM: It’s extremely painful. Every day I wake up and- (LAUGHS). Y’know, the directing part is not that different and I think running a bigger company had a lot of value to running a bigger- I mean this-basically this production is about the size of business my company does in a year sort of crammed into a six month period, so, I think just managing people and not having them hate you, utterly, a little bit maybe, but not completely, that was a big help. The directing part not so much. I’ve directed a lot of mo-cap, I’ve directed a few commercials and it’s really-it’s kind of the same thing. I mean, it’s much better working with Ryan and the kind of caliber of people we have here. That wasn’t so much, it’s really just the process of live action vs. CG is different. Creativity comes in small, controlled bursts here, which is a little different. It’s a process. I like it. I do.
I mean, being able to walk over-like Ryan was doing this-there’s a difference between CG and live action. Ryan is running this whole pizza scene in an apartment and it’s a three page scene and I could come over and go, “Could you look a little more depressed there and a little happier here and a little doubtful there” and Ryan would just fold that into this into the whole performance in a way that, y’know, if it was an animator, I would’ve had to wait four weeks to see it and Ryan does it thirty seconds later.
RYAN: I am your plaything. (LAUGHS)
TIM: He is my meat puppet. (LAUGHS) That would be the case if the performance was 99.99 percent there before I opened my fat mouth and, some might say, worse because I opened my mouth. Maybe Ryan might say that.
Q: So, if the film is successful will we finally got to see The Goon?
TIM: (LAUGHS) I don’t know if that works that way in Hollywood. I’d like to think it did. Does it? I don’t know, I don’t count on that. We’re still working on it, we just haven’t-I know the Kickstarter fans are a little upset with us, but-we did, we finished a version of the film and then we-Fincher and me and Jeff and Eric all got together and we did some rewrites. We don’t want to show it until it’s-but, an animated film is, y’know-Pixar spends six fucking years on theirs. We’ve only had a year and a half.
Q: Talk about the soundtrack; Are you thinking music or score?
RYAN: It’s been huge for us.
TIM: Ryan is a walking compendium of ‘80’s and ‘90’s music, so we are tapping into that.
RYAN: And not necessarily the good stuff either. (LAUGHS)
TIM: It’s a process that needs to be monitored.
RYAN: It’s big in the movie. Music is a huge part of it and it’s not the kind of typical stuff you’d see-y’know, the driving beats that, y’know, normally accompany action sequences. We might be going the other way with some of it. But, you never know until the end. I mean, look, our budget is like the Craft Services budget on most X-Men movies , so we don’t, y’know, we have to sort of spend the money that we have quite wisely in the most judicious places possible, but um-
TIM: I do just want to say for the record, though, that if it looks like in any of the nostalgic use of music that we’re chasing Guardians, look at the script that was leaked years ago and it has all these music references and-
RYAN: That’s true.
TIM: -Rhett and Paul had it first.
RYAN: I did have a bit of a panic attack when I saw Guardians. (LAUGHS)
TIM: Rhett and Paul got there first.
Q: You guys worked on this for years before you got the greenlight. What was the feeling like when you finally got it?
RYAN: That was the weirdest green light I’ve ever heard of, because they didn’t tell us, they just dated the movie. (LAUGHS) The footage had been leaked and, y’know, this momentum had been building since Comic Con-
TIM: In our minds, really. We didn’t know-
RYAN: There was a bit of a fever pitch after this test footage leaked and suddenly we just see that, in the trades, like everybody else, oh, they dated Deadpool for February 2016 and we all sort of look at each other and go, “We’re either all making a movie or we’ve all just been summarily fired.” (LAUGHS) We’re all kind of calling each other, like, are we, what’s-?
TIM: I had like a thirty minute heads up on that from when Ryan did because I literally had a meeting with Emma Watts who runs Fox and I’ve had meetings before, there just sort of, you check in and you talk about what’s-basically, me begging, can we make the movie? And then, this time before I had a meeting at 2 o’clock, she called me and said, “Hey, you’re coming over in a little bit, but I’m just wondering what you’re doing in February 2016?” And I’m like, “Uhh, nothing.” And then she said, ‘cause we’re gonna-
RYAN: You’re watching a movie we hired someone else to direct. That’s what you’re doing. (LAUGHS)
TIM: So, it was kinda shocked.
Q: Do you guys feel a closer kinship to the fans on this film considering they were so instrumental in getting it made?
RYAN: Totally. They own it. And I don’t mean that as anything falsely sincere. Genuinely I feel like we owe this experience to them. It’s like, y’know, never in a million years would it have happened this way had it not been for their voice. And, social media in every aspect, y’know? People were writing Fox. It’s kinda nice, y’know? I feel like we owe it to them to give them the most authentic Deadpool possible and at the same time we also feel indebted to them for getting this movie made. They greenlit it, really. Fox just dated it.
TIM: But, we’re fans, y’know. So we just wanna be true to the original spirit of it. I feel like- we talk a lot about, like, will the fans not like this or not like that, I don’t worry about that so much, because I feel like I’m the core demographic wrapped up in one sorta semi-fat 50-year-old package. And it would-y’know-I feel like I got a good compass for what they can tolerate and we are so in the zone. I think they’re gonna love it.
Q: What are the chances you take the costume out for a spin in character walking the floor of Comic Con 2015?
RYAN: I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been discussed already. I don’t know, we’ll see. I feel like this costume will take cosplay to a whole new level, to the sense that, I think that as soon as I walk on the floor people would be like, “That’s Deadpool! That’s not nylon!” I would much prefer to go with the K-Mart/Wal-Mart version-
TIM: You could to the onesie!
RYAN: Fully! I actually think that’s cooler. Also, science is wrong, Global warming is caused by this suit. So, playing in it is not as comfortable as one might imagine. Today is actually the first day that I haven’t been passing away while wearing it.
Q: As I think everyone knows, the possibility exists that the script might have been online for a little bit, so a lot of us are curious, how has the script changed if at all since that version hit, and what tweaks have of have not been done?
RHETT REESE: I’d say the script is about 70% the way it was still. So it’s changed significantly but if you were to read that script and go see the movie you’d have a lot of stuff spoiled. I mean, the same basic movie is there.
PAUL WERNICK: It evolved. You know, we’ve been on this project for more than 6 years now. We were hired right after Zombieland, 2009. And it went through various iterations and evolutions over the course of those 6 years, including starting as an R-rated draft and evolving eventually into a PG-13 draft over the course of 4 of those 6 years, and then returning back to the R-rated draft near the end. Largely, tonally, story wise, it’s very, very similar.
REESE: Yeah. I mean, some additions –Tim Miller, our director, thought that the first draft had a lot of gun fighting at the expense of kind of superhero fighting so he wanted us to introduce another superhero, so we did. Negasonic Teenage Warhead was a pretty recent add for Tim. I’d say it’s both different and the same, I know it sounds strange or maybe as an oxymoron. But, again, if you’d read that draft you have a pretty good sense of what you’re gonna see.
Q: Was that highly frustrating for you guys, is there any positivity to come out of a leak like that?
REESE: I don’t mind leaks myself.
WERNICK: As long as they’re well received [Laughs].
REESE: Yeah. But I think a poorly received leak in today’s day and age could really kill a movie, I really believe that. And a well-received one –I mean, both our script and the test footage were well-received and I think that helped us in each case. It didn’t put us over the top, but it certainly didn’t hurt.
WERNICK: It does make us highly suspect that both the script and the test leaked, but neither of which we had anything to do with.
Q: What made you guys decide to put a less known characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Angel Dust, when those are characters that are barely in the comics anyway?
REESE: Yeah. Well, a lot of the bigger characters are spoken for, so when you go to get someone like Colossus, there are a lot of approvals and it has to fit into the larger X-Men universe and what the X-Men franchise is planning on doing with Colossus and who are you gonna cast and all those issues come in to play; it becomes a little bit of a quagmire sometimes, we did get approval for Colossus. But with Negasonic Teenage Warhead Tim actually gave us a pre-approved list, he’s like, “You can use any of these names” and we looked down the list and there were names like Bizarre, Tar Baby was a character, like, “I don’t think we’ll be using Tar Baby” But anyway, on that list it just popped, this name Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
WERNICK: It almost didn’t matter what her powers were, we just loved the name so much.
REESE: And she is so minor that very few people know her, which is actually good for us. Usually you have the opposite problem where people know them too well so whenever you do anything even slightly off book everybody jumps down your throat. But with Negasonic, nobody knew who she was anyway so we got to map an entire personality onto her, new powers onto her, kind of anything we wanted which was nice.
WERNICK: And thematically I think it works that some of these lesser known characters are in Deadpool, because it’s just they feel like Deadpool, these kind of off-kilter, lesser known characters feel more Deadpool.
REESE: And we are part of the X universe, and that is important. Simon Kinberg is our producer and he kind of minds the store in regards to the X universe, so we are fitting into the larger timeline, we need to recognize that. I mean, we have things like the Blackbird’s in the movie, we reference Professor X in the movie. So Deadpool is very much of that world and I think sooner or later we’ll cross over into that world. I mean, we’re not sure when that would be. Probably, if I’d have to guess, we would do a standalone sequel before he entered the actual ensemble movies, but I think at some point it will cross over and it needs to fit.
WERNICK: He even jokes in the movie about being part of an ensemble movie, Deadpool does.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk that Hugh Jackman is leaving Wolverine after the Wolverine sequel, and there’s a lot of talk that after Apocalypse Fox might reboot or something with X-Men because of contracts. Are you sort of aware of that have you had that conversation about a reboot coming, does it still exist?
REESE: I think that anyone who’s in those other movies we can refer to them by character and not get into a problem, if we start talking about specifics of timelines and plots, that’s where it gets dicey for us. So we’ve tried to be a little generic, we talk about Professor X but it’s not in any sort of so specific that it could come into conflict with a potential movie or a potential reboot. We’re not sure ourselves where it’s going, I’m not even sure that there exists the exact plan, but we’re just trying to be in a place where we can be flexible not matter which way it goes, if that makes sense.
Q: Do you guys go into the first Wolverine movie at all, referencing, going back to or away from it?
WERNICK: Yeah, very much. Obviously I think it’s pretty well known that they fucked up Deadpool and Wolverine.
WERNICK: So we have our fun with it. Deadpool obviously breaks that fourth wall in the comics, he breaks it in the movie. This is an origin story, partly an origin story, partly a story in the present of revenge and then redemption. So we do have our fun with the Wolverine movie and how Deadpool was portrayed, and yet we completely disregarded it and done it hopefully better than they did.
Q: What is more important to you and what combination can we expect?
WERNICK: It’s pretty outrageous and hopefully fairly funny. I’d say comedy to action…
Q: Like Green Lantern type of humor?
WERNICK: Let’s hope not.
WERNICK: What would you say?
REESE: Yeah. I mean, really it all flows from the character. The character is very irreverent, he’s very edgy, he’s very silly, he’s borderline psychotic, and I think all of those flow right into the tone. We love this tone, we were really given a gift when we got to write this character and all the other characters in a way become straight men to Deadpool who’s the lunatic in the middle. Usually the straight man is in the middle and the lunatics are around them, and with Deadpool it’s the lunatic in the middle and the straight men are around him. It’s just a joy to write, it really is, it’s a joy to write. And we think it’ll be very faithful to the Deadpool you know. I don’t think anyone’s gonna watch this and go, “Oh this isn’t the Deadpool that I’ve read on the page” I think they’re gonna feel like, “Ok, this is pretty much the quintessential look at what he’s like and what drives him and why he is funny even”.
Q: So he’s totally crazy.
REESE: Well, no, he’s not insane. It’s not the hearing voices, we’re not doing that, he’s not schizophrenic or anything, but he is as Ryan [Reynolds] says, in a highly militarized shame spiral. So he’s very insecure, he is very vain, hates the way he looks, and the comics had given us the lead way to break the fourth wall, so in a way he’s just strangely omniscient, he can talk about the fact that he’s in a movie, he can talk about things that the character wouldn’t know and everyone around him is kind of like, “What are you talking about?”
WERNICK: For example, he’s stubbing though a People’s Magazine sexiest male alive, Hugh Jackman 2011’s sexiest male alive People Magazine, so, you know. Is he insane? He’s not insane.
REESE: Yeah. We’re not pushing him quite as far as some of the later comics do in terms of his sheer insanity. We figured we had time to do that, hopefully with sequels we have time to do that.
Q: What characters came very close to being in this film?
REESE: We had some that were in that are now out. Garrison Kane was in and is now out, Wire was in and is now out.
WERNICK: Both budgetary.
REESE: Both for budgetary reasons. I'm trying to think… Cable, you know, there was a lot of pressure to put Cable in this movie just because he is associated with Deadpool and they have an interesting fun relationship. Our feeling was we just better get Deadpool on his feet before we introduce Cable. Anyone else?
REESE: I mean, I though. We really took some people off the table, most of the X-Men we took off the table. Colossus was the one we wanted to fight for because he’s a real goody two-shoes and a real rule follower, and we thought he was a good foil to Deadpool. He’s just this sort of square jawed, metaphorically and literally, but he’s also a square and that’s pretty fun to play opposite Deadpool.
Q: I imagine there were numeral processes to getting Colossus, did you guys have a backup plan if you couldn’t get him?
REESE: I don’t think we, thankfully, got that far. We kind of put him in there with the hope that we could use him and then it just worked out.
WERNICK: Sort of like how we wrote it with the hope that it would stay R-rated. When we started we did say like, “Well, are they ever gonna make an R-rated Deadpool movie?” and Ryan, God bless him, was like, “Go with God. Write it the way it should be written and we can kind of figure it out beyond that” So same sort of thing, we just wished and it came through.
Q: Some movies go just pure over the R-rated line and some movies go really far with R, what are you guys doing?
WERNICK: We may have to appeal for an R rating as opposed to an NC-17.
REESE: Yeah. I mean, we have all the things I think that make a movie R: Language, Sex, and Violence. And so I would say we’re a reasonably hard R, though that’s certainly in play if it gets too gory and it might turn some folks off, we have to find the right line.
Q: A lot of Deadpool’s sense of humor is from pop culture references, how do you make sure that you reference pop culture things but also that you’re not making a joke about something that people will roll their eyes about in a year?
REESE: Boy, that’s such a good question and it’s so hard to me. Interestingly this script is 6 years old, so one of the things we decided I think was, it’s ok if someone in the audience doesn’t get a specific joke, and Family Guy has always committed to that idea. Like, you know, we’ll make a bunch of jokes, you’ll get maybe 7 out of 10 but 3 you won’t get, maybe somebody else will get or maybe it’ll inspire you to look that person up on the internet. They’ll do jokes that are pretty obscure for a modern audience, but they do enough, the quantity is enough I think that any particular one if it makes somebody grunt or feels like yesterday’s news, that’s ok in the larger scheme. I do think we need to watch the really popular trends, like the jokes that just get beaten down by other movies and other TV shows, but some stand the test of time, some jokes are so timeless like, I mean, Justin Bieber, we’ll probably be able to make jokes about Justin Bieber and if it’s a funny joke it’ll still work.
Q: Do you have any sort of end credit or post-credit scene, where you guys approached to write anything like that?
WERNICK: There is a post credit thing that if hopefully comes together, It’s gonna be phenomenal.
REESE: We’re planning it. It’s one of those ones that’s gonna require some doing, so iit may not come together, and if so, I don’t know, we’ll either do a plan be or none at all. I think we should have one, I mean, we really feel like we should have one.
Q: It’s Deadpool.
REESE: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
Is there a Stan Lee cameo?
REESE: Stan Lee is in the movie.
WERNICK: In a way you’ve never seen him before.
WERNICK: We could…You guys want the spoil or not?
REESE: No? No, no. No spoiler.
Q: How much was Rob Liefeld involved in the script?
REESE: Rob wasn’t that involved in the script but he’s been incredibly involved once the script was done in helping us get it to fruition. Just pushing and nudging and kind of generating enthusiasm on the fans and on the studio. He’s so passionate and such a cheerleader, just such a positive person and a positive force. I think, truly, that if it hadn’t been for his –Obviously most importantly if it hadn’t been for his character none of us would be here, but also just his tireless passion and enthusiasm means a lot. In a business where people can get cynical and beaten down and tired, he never gave up and it really helped the movie.
Q: Being in the film for 6 years, having different iterations, going back and forth, is there a period in time where the light at the end of the tunnel seems the faintest?
REESE: Yes. There were some really low moments. One of the lowest moments was when we turned in the script on the day The Avengers came out, a Friday, and The Avengers made what, over 200 and some million dollars opening weekend? And we thought for sure, “How do you read this script as an executive on that particular weekend and not greenlight this Monday morning?” and instead we got the word on Monday morning that Fox was gonna kind of rethink, given the success of The Avengers, rethink Deadpool possibly within the context of an ensemble as opposed to by himself, and we just went, “Ugh!” so that was a low moment. What were some other ones?
WERNICK: I mean, pretty much every moment from the time when we turned in the script to the time they greenlit the movie was pretty low. Just because we’re so immensely passionate about it, and not able to understand how a movie like this, a Marvel movie, in a space with a little bit of oversaturation but yet this is an apple to everyone’s orange in terms of it being hard R and being this character that the audience has never really seen a superhero like this, I don’t think, kind of a self-loathing antihero.
REESE: It’s funny, greenlight decisions come down to people, people make the decision, obviously. But maybe not so obviously in the sense that you need that right combination of people, and it wasn’t until we had Jim Gianopulos, Stacy Snider, Emma Watts, and Simon Kinberg, that group of people, to come together and say, ‘Ok, now’s the time.” And we’re really lucky in that retrospect that I didn’t get made in a previous iteration because it might have been PG-13, or an executive who was doing it maybe because they thought the market was didn’t really get it. I think we finally got the right combination of people at Fox who just supported us 1000%, and I think because of that we’re all gonna get the Deadpool we always hoped for.
WERNICK: Yeah. It all ultimately worked out. But if you were to track the email chain from Rhett, myself, Ryan, and Tim, over the course of 5, 6 years we all never gave up. We pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and sent emails where we over step boundaries all the time in term of like, Jim Gianopulos got it like, ‘Please we’re grown men, we’re begging”.
REESE: And we had some angels on our shoulder too, this movie had some very quiet unsung heroes. One of them was Jim Cameron, who’s a friend of Tim Miller, and read the script at a key moment a few years back. He said he would read it and we were like, [Sarcastically] “Oh yeah, he’s will read it.” And literally he read it that night and got back to us the next morning.
WERNICK: He was procrastinating I think on Avatar 2.
REESE: But he read it and he went to Jim Gianopulos and he got it on the radar in a really big way. David Fincher was another guy who was a big help for us, he’s also a friend of Tim’s, and he loved the script and he pushed forward with the executives at certain key moments. Having guys like Fincher and Cameron pushing certainly didn’t hurt and we very well might not be sitting here if it hadn’t been for those two guys.
WERNICK: The ultimate angel on our shoulder really was Simon Kinberg. When he came aboard it really did kind of move what was delayed to blazing superhero speed and “let’s make this movie”.
REESE: Yeah. I mean, I think Simon in a way was probably most responsible, just his understanding of comics, his understanding of this character.
WERNICK: And the trust that Fox has in him.
Q: Have Cameron and Fincher been on set at all?
REESE: No, they’re so busy. But their enthusiasm really helped us, I can’t say that enough, it really helped us.
Q: So you guys think Deadpool will have his own standalone sequel before being part of an ensemble?
REESE: Just a guess.
Q: Have you guys given any thought to what a second standalone film would look like?
REESE: Not really because we’re trying not to jinx it. I think what we’re discovering in this process is that we’ve really fallen in love with these characters, and by these I mean Weasel, Blind Al, Dopinder who plays the taxi driver, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Colossus. So I think there will be momentum to keep as many characters from the original as possible because they seem to be working out so well.
WERNICK: It’s like this fucked up dysfunctional family that kind of all works, and so we’d love to keep the core together if we could.
REESE: And not overpopulate it. I think some movies get overpopulated, I mean, obviously there would be a new villain. It would be fun to get Cable involved, that’s not a promise, that’s something that we will explore certainly. But I think we’re just in love with this particular ensemble, kind of like a TV ensemble, they’re fun beyond episode 1, episode 2, sometimes many seasons the same ensemble could work, so we’d like to play with these guys.
WERNICK: And it also bares mentioning too, a word about Ryan Reynolds. This is a pretty well known fact but when we developed this script to write it, we outlined it very seriously and we did that with Ryan. So it was really the three of us, Paul, Ryan and I, and I think sometimes people make the assumption that the start is just the start, he just shows up and he does his job and that’s it; and he was so instrumental. When we first pitched Deadpool to him, it was not an origin story, interestingly, because we thought origin stories were old-fashioned, and Ryan was the one who said, “No, it needs to be an origin story” and so I think it was kind of his choc but then our peanut butter in the sense that we decided to kind of do a modern story and an origin story and link them with the sort of five-year flashbacks. But when we wrote the script we would send pages, 10 to 20 at a time, to Ryan and he would give us his notes and his feedback as we were going. So I just can emphasize enough how important he was to the writing process and really this is not just Paul’s and my script, it’s Paul’s, mine, and Ryan’s from a long, long time ago. And I just wanna make sure that everyone gets that because he really deserves that recognition.
John Kelly – Executive Producer
Q: Was this scene conceived to be shot in the rain or was that something you had to adapt to?
JK: We wanted it to be gloomy and sort of dark, and I think these are good days to do that, but when it's raining it's sort of hard for continuity because you've got some scenes without the rain coming down. Most of the time if there's a light rain coming down you can't really see it if you've shot it the right way. It's things like this big tractor outside, if rain is coming down like a little waterfall that's what catches your eye rather than the actual rain in the air or something. There's challenges, hopefully it stops or you get this big forty by sixty truss systems we've got hanging by construction cranes and you try to at least cover some of the working area.
Q: Are you staying close to the universe of the comic or are you just inspired by it and telling a different story?
JK: Very close I believe, as much as we can. I think a lot of those things, Tim, Ryan, and the writers probably can get into more, they've spent years getting this movie made, I came on about 8 months ago. I do shows from show to show for Fox and so Fox called me up and said 'You're doing Deadpool,' and I said Great! That's when I went down and met Tim, he'd been on this for years, the writers had been on this for years, so they've been very patient in trying to see this get made.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge for you?
JK: I think it was at first trying to keep what Deadpool looked like, it was let's keep that at a priority, until we got to the overpass that you've probably already seen photographs on the internet now. Sort of figuring out when we were going to release the first looks and when those were going to be sent out by Fox. But it was really how do we find a place that we can be on top of an overpass and find the grit that we want and sort of make this world be as close as we can to what people are expecting.
Q: Where are you sitting with the rest of the X-Men films, the old ones and the current ones?
JK: I'll let Tim and the writers answer that one. There are certain questions I'd like those guys to ask and answer.
Q: Talk about where you are in the production schedule and how many days is the shoot, stuff like that.
JK: We are 48 days right now, in terms of planned shoot. We've got second unit for about fifteen days. We're about sixty percent of the way through. We go from here to the flight deck, which you'll see, in theory you sort of see it in these pieces right here. So there's an aircraft carrier of sort up against where this river is that you don't see, that we'll sort of build in, and what you guys will go and see is the actual flight deck for the top of that. So we're intermingling this set and the next location that you're going to go see, and so we've got 4 weeks left.
Q: Talk a little bit about, obviously this is not one of those $100 million X-Men movies, it's a little more intimate if you will. What's been the biggest challenge in terms of trying to accomplish the scope and scale with the budge tyou guys have?
JK: I think we've done a really good job at doing what we wanted to do with the money we have. Knowing that we had a certain amount of money we actually went in there and looked at what we had in the script and the plan and made it work. I would say most of what Tim wants in this as a director, I hope he's getting, because we've come up to Vancouver. You get a really great deal In Vancouver in terms of rebates on special effects, rebates on all the local crew. I would say 95% of the crew here are local. Our idea was how do we make this as big as we can with the money we have and where can we make that movie, and that became Vancouver. We got the overpass, the city let us shut that down, that became a big savings for us rather than having to build it we got to shut down the freeway for two weeks. It was really trying to bring in as few people as possible, use all of the really talented resources here and sort of what you're getting for the same amount of money for a bigger show you're getting all the services and quality that you would expect on something a little more expensive. We're very excited, we haven't cut much out of the show at all so we're very excited about hopefully saving money and putting more in visual effects and getting a bigger and better show for everybody.
Q: What's it been like working with Tim since this is his first feature?
JK: He's a sweetheart. He's wonderful. Really sincere guy, I've worked with a lot of different directors. He loves this character, he loves X-Men, he's a comic book guru. He owns a company called Blur Studios and I went there, that was my first meeting with him, and he's got this book shelf that's probably three meters high and maybe five meters wide and it's got thousands and thousands of comics, that just sort of sits at this warehouse loft place. He loves the story, he loves the world of X-Men. He's one of their biggest fans in terms of filmmakers. I think you'll get a lot more out of this movie because he is who he is, and I think it will be true to the universe of who Deadpool is. Good guy though.
Q: We see that Colossus is going to be added in later. Can you talk about the characters surrounding Deadpool in the movie?
JK: I'll let Tim talk about that, I don't want to take all the thunder just because I'm first. I can talk about … What Can I talk about? I can talk about Rhett and Paul, they've been on the show for five, six years. You'll meet them. You'll love them. They also did Zombieland. Great guys, very involved, they're on set daily. Ryan is very involved too, he's one of our producers as well. So you've got a group of filmmakers that are here to make a really great movie and we've all sacrificed a little bit here and there in order to put it on the screen, which is the best way to make movies, rather than taking it away from the screen. I'm very happy to be a part of it, I had other shows and this one is the most interesting. I think it has the biggest potential for a surprise for everybody, I think people will see this and really get excited that it's not the normal comic book hero sort of movie.
Q: You mentioned second unit, how much is second unit shooting throughout the movie and who is your second unit director?
JK: Rob Alonzo is our second unit director and he's got 15 days of second unit, we start those tomorrow actually. It's starting or continuing some of the action fights we have, a lot of action in the show. So we've pretty much got him non-stop, you try to make a second unit group work consecutively. We'll start or finish in first unit the action sequences and they'll come in and either add to it or start off the choreography and we'll come in and finish it with our actors. There's a lot of fighting, a lot of action.
Q: What is the most complex scene to pull off for you?
JK: I think anything you have to do with a 3D character, I'm learning a lot about that because I haven't done a lot of those kind of movies. With Tim and our VFX guys, I think you just see how much time it takes to shoot fights when you have one person real and the other person is in the virtual world. Gina Carano is sort of fighting herself and then fighting a stand in and then fighting some pads. It's an interesting process. You shoot it again and again to make it look great but assembly wise it looks wonderful.
Q: Can you talk about the tone of the movie, is it pretty consistent with the test footage?
JK: I'll let Tim talk about that, I'm not going to take away all the thunder.
Q: What's it like working with Ryan?
JK: Great, absolutely involved. Just really serious about making it right and making it good. Sometimes you get on these shows and it's so long and everyone's tired and everyone will just say “It's good enough, let's move on,” and here it's never good enough, we got to make it better, and that was the one thing right from the time I started the show, Ryan was involved with texts, emails, conversations all the times. He loves the character, just so into it. Any job that you come to work and everybody is excited about the work that you do, whether it's making movies or making cookies, it just makes it so much more enjoyable and so much more rewarding because everyone is invested in the same thing to make a great product, a great movie, a great story. I've been on a lot of sets, and this is enjoyable. A lot of happiness, a lot of hard work, a lot of rain, but it's really about let's make the best Deadpool movie we can.
Q: You shot on film or digital and why?
JK: We shot on digital and I think that's pretty much where we're going. I haven't made a movie on film in about five or six years, I don't miss it. For me, giving people hard drives and capturing an unlimited amount of footage as needed and being wasteful in terms of letting it run, compared to film where you have a thousand foot mag and you would run out of film so you were shutting down every time on a film where you're watching film count. It's a whole different world. You get far more options in terms of the digital. You get it back immediately and that night you get home you can see dailies, or the next day see dailies of what you shot where sometimes it's a day and a half or two days on film. I don't miss films. Any of you guys carrying film cameras or all digital?
Q: Are you shooting in 3D?
JK: 2D. At this point there are no 3D plans for this film.
DEADPOOL blasts into theaters on February 12th, 2016.
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