"Everyone hates what they did to Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but nobody blames Ryan for it." So says Tim Miller, director of Deadpool, in which almost uniquely, Ryan Reynolds has doggedly pursued the opportunity to revisit the character and do it right. All indications are that he and his team have absolutely nailed it this time. And with the trailer for the long-developed and much-rumoured Deadpool finally with us, we dragged Miller away from the editing suite long enough to talk us through it.
WADE & VANESSA
"We flash backwards and forwards in time throughout the movie, so this scene of Wade before he’s Deadpool doesn’t necessarily come as early as you’d think. But even if you were to place it linearly, it would still probably come about 20 minutes in. We meet Wade before he’s met Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), when he’s a kind of small-time mercenary. Then he meets her and falls in love, and then they learn he’s got cancer. So this scene is post-cancer."
"That’s Jed Rees, who plays The Recruiter. He was great. He was the main alien in Galaxy Quest: that’s what I knew him from! He did a good job of being creepy and syrupy sweet. The 'superhero' thing is a big issue for fans of Deadpool, and certainly with us. Deadpool’s not a superhero. He doesn’t want to be a superhero. He doesn’t like superheroes. So the whole idea of him potentially becoming a superhero is treated with disdain. We recorded a voiceover this morning where Wade is like, 'Even if you have cancer, just murdered a man in Mexico and you’re on the brink of death, if someone offers you the choice to become a superhero, the answer should be no...'"
“DON’T GIVE ME A GREEN SUIT”
"That got a good laugh at Comic-Con. For the most part, we try to stick to the rule that Wade Wilson can’t break the fourth wall. He’s not aware that he’s in a movie. Deadpool is. He only breaks the fourth wall when he’s Deadpool. So we’re tiptoeing on the edge of breaking our own rule there, because he’s still Wade at that point. We shot a few more Green Lantern jokes, but I’m not sure how many will survive the cut. Ryan definitely had some Green Lantern issues to work out. We had about a minute’s worth of dialogue between him and Colossus where he talks about it, like, 'So a guy comes with a thousand-dollar suit and says, "We want you to play a superhero," but there’s no script yet and the release date is completely unmakeable…' He goes on this whole anti-Green Lantern run, but I’m not sure it’ll stay in, because probably not even half the people in the theatres will get those jokes. You can’t only play to the comic fans. He’s spouting weird shit all the time, and if you don’t pick up on every joke, that’s fine. But you can’t leave everybody behind all the time. Any joke that an audience needs to look up on the internet after the movie is not something I’m in favour of. But that scene’s one for the DVD extras, for sure."
"The editing guys just wanted to hit the idea of what a superhero would be, so they took a shot from later in the movie and made it all silhouettey."
SITTING ON THE BRIDGE
"That’s a direct lift from our little, leaked trailer. He’s sitting on the bridge waiting for Ajax. It’s Christmas Day, and Wade’s been waiting for Ajax to get out of prison for five years, because he thinks Ajax can fix his face. So this is the day Ajax gets out of the Supermax, and Wade’s just sitting there on the bridge, waiting for him to get out and drive by, so he can beat the shit out of him."
"Again, this sequence stems from the teaser I did. The car wrecks, and these guys all surround the car and Wade puts his hands up to try and distract them from shooting. That fight, by the way, is called the 'Twelve Bullets Fight', because he only has 12 bullets in his gun, and he’s got to kill all these bad guys."
“DADDY NEEDS TO EXPRESS SOME RAGE”
"That line’s actually stolen from later in the movie. The shot is Wade shooting at a gunman on a motorcycle, but the line comes from later when he’s just realised that he’s permanently Deadpool and he can’t fix his face, and he’s also just learned that Ajax is in jail for the next five years so there’s no hope of that happening at all. So he just decides that he’s just going to go and fuck some people up, and be the best hitman ever. So he and Weasel have this moment where Wade says, 'I’m not a patient person. I always eat the dessert in my Lunchables first.' And Weasel says, 'Well, you could get Vanessa back, or go on The Bachelor...' and then Wade takes his hood back and you see how ugly he is. And he says he’s going to wait five years for Ajax to get out, and in the meantime, 'Daddy needs to express some rage...'"
"We were never going to be able to keep Colossus as a secret. He was in the script that leaked and all that. I wasn't actually sure, until we were standing there shooting it, that at some point Fox was going to say, 'Hold on a second; we can’t put Colossus from our treasured X-Men franchise in this movie to be made fun of!' But they did, and not only that, but also they let me change the look of him. As a fanboy I’ve always been like, 'That dude with the shiny skin is not fucking Colossus.' He should be this monstrous guy, and they actually let me make him seven-and-a-half feet tall. I did actually call Daniel Cudmore to ask him if he wanted to do this, even though he’d be entirely CG the whole time. He was very nice about it. He was like, 'I appreciate your offering, but nah.'"
NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD
"In the original script the action in the third act was great, but it was just Deadpool and a lot of guns. One of my notes early on was that I wanted to see more superhero stuff. We had Garrison Kane in there for a while, but in the final round of budget cuts we had to take him out, because he was a pretty expensive dude. He’s got these bionic arms that change shape; he would have been a visual effect for a large part of the movie. And as it turned out, a visual effect too far. I went through the list of Marvel characters and picked a few others I thought could be visually spectacular and fun. And at the end of that list was Negasonic, which I just thought was a freaky, funny name. And I sent this list over to the writers, Rhett (Reese) and Paul (Wernick), and they were like, 'Oh my fucking god, we have to use her!' So that’s how she ended up in the movie. Her name was cool, and we kind of wanted a straight-man to play against Colossus. We thought about Cannonball, but he would’ve been a stupid hick character, whereas the guys wrote Negasonic as this deadpan goth teen, which was a great angle. She turned out really well. There aren’t really many definitive Deadpool villains, apart from Cable. If we don’t put Cable in Deadpool 2 I think we’ll be run out of town on a rail."
"This is the scene I mentioned before, where Wade’s just learned that Ajax has gone to jail for five years. We made the decision early on to go all-in on the make-up. There was some discussion about how horrible we could make it, and I firmly planted my flag in 'fucking horrible', because if it isn’t, nobody’s going to excuse him for being such a dick and being so angry. If it’s just a few scars we’re not going to have any sympathy for him. To Fox’s credit they were like, 'Go for it.' But that said, we didn’t want to make him a zombie, which some of the comics go pretty far with. I’m all for authenticity but you can’t have a main character who’s leaking pus. You don't want to see inside his mouth when he’s chewing, that’s a bridge too far. I think he looks suitably hideous. And that’s not the only stage of the make-up: when we first see him in the workshop it’s pretty raw.
There were actually way meaner versions of the line, 'You look like Freddy Krueger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah'. T.J. (Miller) came up with some horrific riffs on that. And they cracked us up, but they were kind of too much. We have a David Beckham joke that’s pretty funny, but I feel like David Beckham can take it. He’s a rich and beautiful and famous sports star. Oh yeah, you’re right, there’s that line about Posh Spice at the start of the trailer too! I don’t know why Ryan has it in for the Beckhams. He makes fun of himself at the same time though!"
"I can honestly say that nobody worked harder than Ed Skrein did. I loved that guy. He just has the best attitude ever. He trained really hard. He has some good moves and he’s really athletic, but he worked really, really hard with our stunt coordinators to do the best he could. Probably 80 per cent of what you see on screen is him. The only time we took him out was if we were doing some kind of rigged stunt. Ryan’s amazing too. Ryan didn’t train nearly as hard as Ed, but he’s uncanny. He has, like, photographic reflexes or something. We’d have the stunt guys do stuff and then I’d have Ryan come in and do a take or two, and I’ve almost always ended up using Ryan’s takes. He can learn choreography in seconds. Second unit shot three days of that fight in the car, and then I went in for one day with Ryan to pick up the character beats and a few other moves, and we ended up reshooting basically the whole thing with Ryan in that single day. We shot a fight in a warehouse where for Ryan it was six hours in make-up and then a 16-hour day, and he never complained. Ed was the same way, and then we did a whole other day with Ed right on top of that. And all that time, Ed was like, 'Don’t let the stunt guy do this!' He was hopping on his toes the whole time, ready to jump in. 'Put me in, Coach! Put me in!'"
"We just wanted to show that Deadpool is this perfect mix of athleticism and accuracy: he’s got these Bullseye-like reflexes, especially with the guns and katanas. This is the end of the Twelve Bullets sequence, where he ends up with one bullet but he’s still got three guys to kill, so he waits for this perfect moment to do this super-cool move and take them all out with one shot. It was always a great moment in the script, and it turned out well. Everybody thought it was horribly gory, but I don’t think it’s that bad!"
"The Comic-Con trailer was a little bit longer. This version had to be shorter, for whatever reason, so the things that got taken out were a couple of real in-joke things that, again, wouldn’t necessarily play to a general audience. Stan Lee was in the Comic-Con trailer, and there was another shot with Rob Liefeld, Deadpool’s creator. Those moments were for the Comic-Con fans. It went over so well at Comic-Con. Everybody there was so primed to like this film. It didn’t go to my head at all. I came out just thinking, 'Fuck, now we really have to deliver!' We were kind of under the radar before, at least within Fox. That’s all over now..."
Deadpool is out in the UK on February 5, 2016