Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Talk DEADPOOL, Selling a Hard R-Rated Superhero, How to Find the Script, and More

     March 25, 2013


I want to see the Deadpool movie.  Ryan Reynolds is perfect casting, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) are the perfect writers for it, and it’s just a fun character whose tendency to break the fourth-wall could be a welcome spin on the superhero genre.  Reynolds is still on board, and he recently said that Deadpool would address X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which would help avoid getting bogged down in continuity, and give the character a fresh start.  He also noted that it’s a hard sell to 20th Century Fox because the film would be hard-R (therefore cutting into the profits pulled from the wallets of teenage boys), and not fit the mold of other superhero movies.  Reese and Wernick are also somewhat frustrated with the lack of progress, and they recently spoke with Steve about the project.

Hit the jump for what they had to say including the hurdles in getting it made, taking a chance on an unconventional superhero, and how you can find the script.

deadpool-movie-vote-comic-book-coverBack in January 2012, we reported that Fox may have shot an 8-minute test for a Deadpool movie.  Reese basically confirmed this earlier report, although he says the test was closer to three minutes.  He also said that the test was right on the money for the movie they want to make:

RHETT REESE: We have a phenomenal director in Tim Miller, who did about a 3-minute test for Fox, and Ryan came in to do the mo-cap for it and the voice.  And it’s like the greatest three minutes ever.  I look at the three minutes and I’m like, “That’s the movie, and it has to get made.”  I think the biggest hurdle right now is convincing the-powers-that-be that it’s okay to have a hard-R rated movie within the Marvel Universe.

Reese also said that they think the film could be made for a budget of about $50 million, which would account for the lower ticket sales due to the film’s R-rating.  However, there’s still the matter of the film’s tone:

REESE: I think there just has to be a tolerance for the outlier.  There has to be a tolerance for this one project that’s not like all the other Marvel projects.

PAUL WERNICK: Iron Man was like that when it came out.  Tony Stark and the hard drinking, fast-talking billionaire was very different from all the other Marvel characters.  And look what it became.  And we feel that way about Deadpool.

deadpool-movie-detailsI would also note that Fox should consider that going against the grain could yield not only an unexpected hit, but more importantly, a new franchise.

Also, for those who are doubtful about whether or not a Deadpool movie can work, the script, which leaked online, has received some positive attention:

REESE: The script leaked online in some bizarre way that we haven’t figured out, so it’s very easily findable out there.  It’s pretty much you go on Google and type in “Deadpool script” and you’ll find it.  Not to say people should be doing that because it certainly wasn’t something we anticipated or enjoyed in the moment, but the Deadpool fans who found it think that it’s right in the wheelhouse of what a Deadpool movie should be.  And so again, we’re just fighting that uphill battle to convince people, and be positive.

I understand and can sympathize with Fox’s hesitation.  When you put your neck out for a project, there’s the chance you can lose your head if the movie flops.  But with a $50 million price tag (as Reynolds recently noted, a “pittance compared to the modern sort of epic scale superhero movies”) and older comic book fans who want an R-rated superhero flick, stalling on Deadpool feels like a wrong move on the studio’s part.

Check out the interview below and here’s what Reese and Wernick revealed to us about the Zombieland pilot that hits Amazon next month.  Look for more with Reese and Wernick tomorrow.



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  • ISeemToBeAVerb

    Only vaguely familiar with Deadpool but I still like Reynolds despite the Green Lantern debacle (he was mis-cast, I wanted him to be The Flash- Barry Allen OR Wally West). An R-rated Marvel character CBM is something I want to see. A $50 million budget would make it doable. With a good story it would make a profit. Kick-Ass did.

  • Reddmang

    Coincidently, I read the script yesterday, and is in fact amazballs.

    • Copycat

      Desperate writers who are desperate to have their script made into a film leak said script on the internet in a desperate attempt to build hype? Yeah, sounds about right.

  • scurvy

    I think the only things out there you can compare this to are kick ass and dredd. Hopefully they pay attention to this and make it more kick ass like.

  • ItsNotASchooner

    Dear Matt and Collider, please keep writing about the Deadpool movie. We need to will this movie into existence!! It needs to happen!! Keep the talk alive. Keep the hope alive. Keep love alive. Keep Deadpool alive!!

  • Marty

    Same problem with the Goon (directed by Tim Miller too). Its a such moment when I hate studios like Fox or Warner Bros ets. They failed with 200 million budget movie like Jack the Giant Slayer but dont want to give 50 million bucks for a awesome adult pictures.

  • Eric Nixon

    It might continue a dangerous precedent, but they should put the three minutes online and open a Kickstarter for it. If Fox is so worried about losing money, let the Kickstarter ease their investment. I’ll throw in $25 for it. Why not?

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  • Jack

    I think the leaking of the script might save the movie if they go the kickstarter route. Me and many of my friends all ate that shit up and loved every page of it.

  • LOL

    I wouldn’t greenlight any script that continually uses the term SMASH CUT TO:

    It’s just CUT TO: and you don’t even need that. (BTW, every cut is a “smash”… thats why it’s an abrupt cut.) It makes it read amateurish.

    • tom

      then don’t read anything by Damon Lindelof. it’s just constant SMASH CUT TO

      • LOL

        His final Prometheus draft doesn’t.

    • Van Iblis

      LMAO. You know how I know you’re a nobody who sits in his room and reads McKee books and thinks he’s a, “real writer?”

      • LOL

        How? Because I have a TV show in development through BenderSpink or because I have 2 specs taking bids?

  • Mr.Oh Boi

    I’m sure the greenlight for the movie is depending on the success of Deadpool’s upcoming video game and the success of Ryan’s next movie or two,game sells well and Ryan has a good year with RIPD and Turbo then the film will prolly gain some needed traction. IMO we should start some sort of petition if one hasn’t already been made though. I’d say Kickstarter but if it’s not sanctioned by the studio or the filmmakers to begin with that’d be a disaster,but hell if that damn Veronica Mars show could raise almost 4 million in a couple weeks I’m sure Deadpool fans could make enough noise to get Fox’s attention. If Tim Miller,these writers or maybe even Ryan himself acknowledges it then maybe we could make the gears turn a bit faster too

  • Apu3

    Ohhh please let this happen i think Reynold could pull something real good from this character that i love so much

  • tony

    If they are worried that a hard R rated movie about a little know Marvel superhero can make money, I have only one word… “Blade”. And he didn’t have the boost of a previous feature film to go off of.

  • MegaMan3k

    The sad thing is that the audience this appeals to is the audience that won’t pay to go see movies.

    You only need to look at Dredd 3D to realize that, as sad as it is, Fox passing on this movie is a good business choice.

    Action fans, especially R-rated action fans, need to speak with their dollars. Dredd 3D was amazing, got great press, great fan response … and then nobody saw it and it failed horribly. I suspect that Deadpool would be the same thing.

    Only thing that should give the producers any hope at all is that Olympus Has Fallen just took in an amazing box office draw considering it’s an R-rated action movie. All the other R-rated action movies lately have fallen on their face. Look at The Last Stand ($12m domestic gross on $45m budget), Bullet to the Head ($10m domestic gross), Dredd 3D ($13m gross on $50m budget, including 3D ticket sales), if you want to think of Dead Man Down as an action flick (it was marketed as such) it has made $10m so far and is rapidly dwindling in theater count.

    Take this defeatist attitude as a call action. If you want Deadpool to happen, you need to start PAYING to see R-rated action films. You need to convince your friends to do so. You need to convince everybody to do so.

    • Jesus

      Dredd was problematic for an entirely different reason: the insistence on 3D only screenings. People don’t want to be forced into the 3D option as the only way to see a movie. That killed Dredd’s chances of success. And also remember the failure of Bullet to the Head and Last Stand wasn’t actually a surprise to anyone: notice how they got dumped in January? And remember, for Dredd many people had the sappy memory of Stallone’s Judge Dredd as a gauge for what to expect, and BttH and Last Stand had nothing but two crusty action stars far past their prime. Deadpool is an established property. Your comparisons aren’t completely unfounded, but to say the correlation is strong enough to draw the conclusion that Deadpool would be an inherent loser at the box office is.

      • Mr.Oh Boi

        Exxxxxxacctly….well put

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  • Capt. Mateo M.D.

    The Movie needs to be more like Lord of War meets Spawn. This isn’t that hard, push the envelope, show raw and horrific brutality, stay away from the obnoxious CGI, cast Gosling so chicks show up, and give it the subtext of a western revenge story.

    • Collin V.

      The script did feel a bit Western-y. The connection is sort of there.

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