Spoilers for Deadpool 2 follow below.
Leave it to the Deadpool franchise to waste the biggest movie stars in the world. Indeed, if you’ve seen Deadpool 2 you may or may not know that Brad Pitt and Matt Damon have cameos in the film—one is insanely brief, and another has the actor covered in prosthetics to the point that he’s completely unrecognizable. Classic Deadpool.
Pitt plays X-Force member The Vanisher, and his cameo lasts about eight frames when the superhero hits an electrical wire. Damon, meanwhile, plays the fat redneck who happens upon Josh Brolin’s Cable when his character arrives from the future. So when we caught up with Ryan Reynolds and director David Leitch, we had to find out how these cameos came to be, and what it took to make them happen.
When it comes to the Brad Pitt cameo, some fans may be aware that the actor was in early talks to potentially play Cable in the film, but the deal never came together. Leitch says that meeting went so well that it lead to Pitt’s cameo:
“I was ecstatic [about the Pitt cameo], I couldn’t believe it. We had early talks with him about Cable, you remember the artwork was leaked and we had to pull it back from the internet. It was serious talks and I think he was really interested, he loves the universe and he loves Deadpool. But for whatever reason it didn’t work out, and he kind of left the door open when we left that meeting, like, ‘If you guys ever need anything give me a call, I’d love to be involved,’ and Ryan just said, ‘Oh I have an idea.’ So we started to think about what it could be and The Vanisher thing was perfect.”
Reynolds revealed that Pitt was paid for his cameo with a single cup of coffee:
“I can confirm that that is Brad Pitt. I still don’t even know how we got him for the movie. I just wrote him a letter and explained what it was we were doing and the sort of premise behind it was, ‘What’s the most wasteful way to use the biggest movie star in the world?’, and it was through a character that is largely invisible and worthless throughout the movie. Then just having him show up for eight frames of footage, I guess Brad found that funny, we all found that funny. And he said, yes and the next thing you know he came and shot for about seven minutes. It took him longer to drink the coffee that he requested as payment than to shoot the cameo. He’s such a gentleman, and such a funny, charming human being, and probably the biggest movie star on earth. That was pretty exciting for all of us.”
But while Pitt was considered for the role of Cable, Leitch says he can’t imagine anyone other than Brolin in the role now:
“It always works out, and now I can’t see it any other way. That’s sort of how casting goes, I mean you start down this road and you work with actors and you’re trying to find the right person for the role, and then you just land this person that’s perfect, it’s serendipitous.”
And Brolin has a bit of a True Grit reunion in his cameo with Matt Damon, which Leitch says came about because of the actor’s friendship with Ryan Reynolds:
“[The cameos happened] because you have the celebrity star-power of Ryan Reynolds, you have a franchise that is beloved, and then I have worked with both of them as a stunt double, so I think having all of those things helped. Moreso Ryan Reynolds and moreso Deadpool being beloved, but me knowing who they were cracked the door open a bit, and actually Matt knows Ryan really well too.”
Indeed, Reynolds merely asked Damon to make a cameo while they were having dinner:
“The Matt one came from Ryan just having dinner with Matt and he was telling him about the gag and was like, ‘Would you want to do it?’ It was that simple. I don’t even know if Matt knew I was directing the movie at the time.”
Then came the decision to shroud the cameo in secrecy by putting Damon in full prosthetic makeup, to the point that the crew didn’t even know it was him:
“Bill Corso, our makeup artist, he’s a master at prosthetics. He had Matt in the chair for three hours, and a lot of the crew didn’t know. There were some people who had worked with him on movies, and if you’re on a run of a show of a movie you’ve worked with him for four months, you look at him every single day. But we didn’t even tell the crew, his name wasn’t on the call sheet—it was a fake name. Nobody really knew what that scene was about, they were like, ‘Why are we shooting these two rednecks?’ We just didn’t tell anybody.”