Deadpool – the R-rated anti-superhero with a penchant for potty language and a questionable ethical compass – finally makes his way to home entertainment formats from today. Among the treasure chest of special features on the DVD and Blu-ray release: a very funny and informative commentary with the film’s star and producer, Ryan Reynolds, and its two writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Here’s a few things we learned while listening to the commentatary with a tasty chimichanga or two.
1. The opening credits was created entirely by CGI
The film’s memorable opening sees the camera make a slow-motion journey around Deadpool and a car full of evil henchman as they slowly tumble towards a fatal crash. According to Reynolds, no camera was ever even used for it – the entire sequence was created using computer-generated imagery.
Director Tim Miller, who started his career as a visual effects artist, uses CGI frequently and cleverly in the movie – often simply because the budget would not allow for some of the more mind-boggling stunts. Miller also “wanted to do a CGI version of the entire movie first,” according to Reynolds, “which he soon realised was entirely ludicrous and impractical”.
2. Nine Deadpool suits were made
There was plenty of filmmaking in the real world, too. Nine different versions of Deadpool’s iconic red-and-black leather suit were made for Reynolds, which he called “the most faithful comic book to screen adaptation of a super suit ever”, and “made me weep the first time I saw it”, being as it was the culmination of an 11-year journey.
Despite his emotional attachment to the suit, the filmmakers still managed to destroy seven of the nine suits during the course of filming. Reynolds, understandably, helped himself to one of them once filming had wrapped. “I just walked off set with it and basically told them to go fuck themselves. I waited ten years to do the movie, and if they want to take the suit back they can come try and take it from me.”
3. Wade’s Bea Arthur t-shirt cost $10,000
In the original Marvel comics, Deadpool has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with classic 1980s US sitcom The Golden Girls – and specifically, that show’s key actress, Bea Arthur. In a blink-and-you-’ll-miss-it nod to this bizarre character trait, a pre-mutation Wade Wilson can be seen wearing a Bea Arthur t-shirt. Reynolds says on the commentary that the rights for Bea Arthur’s likeness in the film cost an eye-watering $10,000 (taking the form of a donation to her estate’s chosen charity).
Reynolds admits with a chuckle that it is “potentially cinema’s most expensive Easter Egg ever”, especially for a reference that only dedicated comic book fans are likely to get, and he admits “as a producer, I had to approve that $10,000,” on a production where budgets were tight. But there was never any debate. “You can’t have a Deadpool movie without Bea Arthur.”
4. A Marvel bigwig is referenced in pizza form
Despite being a Marvel character, Deadpool’s cinematic rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, and thus do not exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nevertheless, there’s a sly little reference to the MCU’s head honcho. The pizza company which employs a creepy tormentor of Wade Wilson’s client is named “Feige’s Famous Pizza – “a nod to Kevin Feige,” head of Marvel Studios.
5. The Dead Pool board features some famous names
Here’s a big joke that only works with the benefit of the pause button: the ‘Dead Pool’ board at the Sister Margaret bar, where punters place bets on who will die next, features some familiar names. Reynolds, Rheese and Wenick are all there, as are Tim Miller and Reynolds’ co-star T.J. Miller. Other names who probably didn’t approve their inclusion: Bill Cosby, Kanye West, Vladimir Putin, Mike Tyson, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Ozzy Osbourne, Shia LaBeouf, Lil Wayne, and Kid Rock.
6. The film took only 48 days to shoot
In a relatively thrifty timescale for a film of this size, Deadpool took just 48 days to film, or around seven weeks. By comparison, Ryan Reynolds notes that Green Lantern took 98 days. Yet the tight schedule actually helped the creative process. “Necessity is invention’s momma,” as he puts it.
7. Ajax was not written as British
Ajax (or as Deadpool prefers to call him, Francis) is the big bad in the movie, played by Ed Skrein. In both the original comics and the film’s screenplay, the character was assumed to be American. But once Skrein – a Brit – auditioned, “it made sense” for the character that he adopt a natural English accent. It also helped that he could fit the ‘British villain’ sterotype, as the opening credits make a cheeky reference to.
According the writers, there was an entire sequence where Deadpool chased Ajax on a motorcycle; unfortunately, it had to be cut for budgetary reasons.
8. Worm manages to worm his way into the movie
Here’s another reference that only Marvel geeks will recognise. The man that Wade Wilson shares a few fleeting moments with in Ajax’s nightmarish laboratory is named as David Cunningham. Though the writers admit that “he is never called by name in the film”, this is in fact Worm. In the comics, he’s a close friend of Wade Wilson and another victim of the highly dodgy Weapon X programme; in both comics and movie, the ill-fated Worm never makes it out of Ajax’s lab alive.
9. Dr Killebrew was featured in an early draft of the script
The subtly-named Dr. Emrys Killebrew is key adversary of Deadpool in the comics, and very nearly appeared in the film, alongside Ajax. But he was soon nixed when the writers realised it would crowd the story. “It was just one more layer in the architecture,” as Rheese puts it, noting that the film already had to create an origin for the character and seek retribution from Ajax. “It’s a straight revenge story between these two guys,” agreed Reynolds. “Adding an extra layer was tough to digest.”
10. Deadpool is the third film in an unofficial ‘Ryan Reynolds Masturbating’ trilogy
Perhaps the film’s most infamous scene involves Wade Wilson, wearing the Deadpool suit sans mask and a fetching pair of Crocs, lying in bed and pleasuring himself with his tiny regenerating hand, a toy unicorn in his other hand.
As Reynolds himself freely admits, this is not the first time the actor has embarked on an onscreen One Man Tug-O’-War, so to speak. “The Nines and The Change-Up are the two other films I’ve made love to myself, I’m not proud to say. People have got a Hollywood star on the walk of fame for less, my friend.”
11. The test footage was leaked by a certain key individual
Deadpool would have never been green lit by the studio, if it were not for a two-minute test footage reel which emerged on the internet and garnered huge fan support. Reynolds and the writers are coy about who released the footage online. “I’m not going to say who it is,” teases Wernick. “But it rhymes with Byran Breynolds.”
Deadpool is out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download now.
Thanks to Laura Hancock for help with this feature.