Imagine spending years working on something only to be told “no” again and again. Most people would give up. Many would compromise their vision to try and at least get some of their ideas made. But that wasn’t director Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds. Through the many years of trying to get their Deadpool movie made, they kept at it, hoping that one day Fox would give them the greenlight. And after some test footage leaked and the fan reaction was beyond enthusiastic, Fox finally gave them the go ahead to make their movie – with the added bonus of allowing it to be rated R! And from what I saw and learned on set, every fan of the comic is going to lose their minds when they see the finished film. This really is going to be something special and unique and hopefully the beginning of a great franchise.
While the movie was filming earlier this year in Vancouver I got to visit the set with a few other reporters and participate in a group interview with Miller and Reynolds, who have been attached to this particular project for years. During the great interview they talked about finally getting their movie made, the long development process, the footage leak, the tone of the film, the hyper-violence, Deadpool’s costume, how they’re not shying away from showing the scars on Deadpool, easter eggs, other comic book character cameos, the soundtrack, why Guardians of the Galaxy made Reynolds nervous when he saw it, and so much more. If you’re looking forward to the Deadpool movie you’re going to love what they had to say.
Before getting to the interview, if you haven’t seen the amazing Deadpool red-band trailer, I’d definitely watch that first.
Question: Is the fact that we’re in Vancouver have anything to do with the fact that you’re from Vancouver?
Ryan Reynolds: The shooting location was not up to me, it was a huge proponent in Vancouver, but it wasn’t-the final call was…
Tim Miller: He’s totally getting a kickback.
Reynolds: Big time kickback. My menacing mother every Sunday that’s what the kickback was.
Miller: His mom is very hot. Have you met?
Reynolds: Yeah, Tim said he wanted to hit that!
Miller: I did.
Reynolds: That’s when I knew I loved Tim.
Miller: It was a very uncomfortable moment
Reynolds: No, I was very comfortable with it. Can I call you dad? Will you be my new dad?
Miller: (LAUGHS) That’s a little…
Reynolds: Right? That would really fuck up the dynamic out there (BOTH LAUGHING)
Was there a time when the light at the tunnel seemed faintest in getting made?
Reynolds: Um, yeah. It was pretty faint after Green Lantern (LAUGHS)
Miller: Through darkest…
Reynolds: 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).
Miller: I did not leak that footage. (LAUGHS)
Reynolds: I say that in every interview by the way.
Miller: I did not leak it, I swear!
Reynolds: I had the studio here yesterday and I was like ‘I’m so glad Tim leaked that footage’ (LAUGHS)
Miller: 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.
Reynolds: The answer was a lot of people. (LAUGHS)
Miller: 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…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.
Reynolds: 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 Gianopulos, 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.
Could you quote one of those e-mails?
Reynolds: 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.
Miller: And still do. (LAUGHS)
Reynolds: And still does. Yeah. Definitely, definitely.
Why were you so passionate about this character? Why does it talk to you?
Reynolds: 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 five, six, seven years ago might not have been.
Because of the tone, because of the darkness?
Reynolds: 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, 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.
Miller: 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.
In what way?
Miller: 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-
Reynolds: You love it.
Miller: I do love it! It makes me laugh! He’s filthy. He’s so nasty.
Talk about the costume. Was it always what we’re seeing? Were there little tweaks along the way?
Reynolds: The costume was tough, it’s always tough, I think on any film.
Miller: It’s all about the whiskering.
Reynolds: Yeah, the whiskering (LAUGHS)
Miller: Ryan sent me this note about the costume when we had it and he’s like, “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)
Reynolds: She was like, there’s whiskering around there and I was like “Oo, that’s a good word.”
Miller: But she was right and we fixed it. No whiskering now.
Reynolds: 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. You gotta tell people that say it’s impossible, we cannot do this in 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.”
Miller: But usually in these costumes, I think it’s worth noting, usually in these costumes you have 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.
Reynolds: I looked like a house in it. It was like too much.
Miller: 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.
Reynolds: We wanted a lithe and kind of a little more slippery than the big beefcake kind of thing..
Something that’s kind of a classic Liefeld character design is the pouches and I notice that you have the pouches.
Reynolds: I have the pouches. And I have feet (LAUGHS)
Miller: And the tiny feet and tiny hands. (LAUGHS)
Reynolds: The pouches, yeah, the pouches-sometimes they have stuff in them, sometimes not. Our Deadpool has a cell phone at times.
Miller: We missed the Liefeld joke with the little hand thing.
Reynolds: Oh yeah! Well, there’s still time, technically…
Can you talk about the tantalizing fireside photo that you guys put out. Does this mean it will be a very hypersexualized Deadpool?
Miller: Pansexual! I want that quoted. Pansexual Deadpool.
Reynolds: There is some sexuality in this movie for sure. You kinda think 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 so far so good. Studio hasn’t crushed us with anything. They were here yesterday, they were thrilled, they saw some cut footage and so far so good. 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.
All Burt Reynolds inspired?
Reynolds: 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…
Miller: He was so happy when they were shooting that day. Like, we had just done the make-up tests before, which are, 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.
Reynolds: Yeah, and again I’m in the suit, I’m happy. Make-up is tough though.
Can you talk about the make-up and the balance to make it scary and charming
Reynolds: 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.
Miller: 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, we gotta do this. And 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.
Did you guys mostly stick to the script or did you leave some room open for improvisation?
Reynolds: Yeah, it’s a bit of everything. Rhett and Paul are brilliant so what we have on the page is perfect, I thought, so-
Miller: But T.J. Miller was a wild stallion of comedy…
Reynolds: 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)
Miller: But it was great! (LAUGHS)
Reynolds: 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, and then just sort of time allowing we’d narrow ‘em down.
What about some of the other mutants that may make a cameo or any easter eggs your planning or planting?
Reynolds: There are some serious easter eggs in this movie.
Miller: Yeah, there’s a few in the workshop scene that we’ve got that, 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…
Reynolds: Well, there are. There’s a few that are…I think that people are gonna really love.
Miller: You want…go ahead.
Reynolds: No, no, I don’t want to give anything away, I have a big mouth, so, I’m gonna…
Miller: 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.
Reynolds: 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.
Miller: There was a time when we were figuring out who else should be in it and 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 that 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.
Reynolds: Very obscure.
Where would you place Deadpool’s level of crazy in this movie?
Reynolds: 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.
Rhett and Paul mentioned that you guys would allude to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, can you talk about some payback to that?
Reynolds: 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.
Miller: It’s a little therapy session for Ryan. Inside the movie.
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?
Reynolds: Yeah, we, 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 Deadpool and then give him a pair of pretty blue eyes. You have to 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 I think there’s gonna be a little…
Miller: A little animation on top, yeah.
Reynolds: With the eyes, yeah-
Miller: 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.
Reynolds: It helps to film me without the mask doing all the same lines and then you can just put that on, and allow it to just-not quite as much, but just allow the mask to move a little bit with the face.
Miller: 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.
With a background in animation with Blur, how was the transition to live action?
Miller: 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, if it was an animator, I would’ve had to wait four weeks to see it and Ryan does it thirty seconds later.
Reynolds: I am your plaything. (LAUGHS)
Miller: He is my meat puppet. (LAUGHS) That would be the case if the performance wasn’t 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.
So, if the film is successful will we finally get to see The Goon?
Miller: (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, Pixar spends six fucking years on theirs. We’ve only had a year and a half.
Talk about the soundtrack; are you thinking music or score?
Reynolds: It’s been huge for us.
Miller: Ryan is a walking compendium of ‘80’s and ‘90’s music, so we are tapping into that.
Reynolds: And not necessarily the good stuff either. (LAUGHS)
Miller: It’s a process that needs to be monitored.
Reynolds: 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 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… we have to sort of spend the money that we have quite wisely in the most judicious places possible.
Miller: 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-
Reynolds: That’s true.
Miller: Rhett and Paul had it first.
Reynolds: I did have a bit of a panic attack when I saw Guardians. (LAUGHS)
Miller: Rhett and Paul got there first.
You guys worked on this for years before you got the greenlight. What was the feeling like when you finally got it?
Reynolds: 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-
Miller: In our minds, really. We didn’t know.
Reynolds: 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…
Miller: 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-
Reynolds: You’re watching a movie we hired someone else to direct. That’s what you’re doing. (LAUGHS)
Miller: So, it was kinda shocked.
Do you guys feel a closer kinship to the fans on this film considering they were so instrumental in getting it made.
Reynolds: 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, 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. 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.
MILLER: But, we’re fans. 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.
What are the chances you take the costume out for a spin in character walking the floor of Comic Con 2015?
Reynolds: 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-
Miller: You could to the onesie!
Reynolds: 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.
For more from our Deadpool set visit:
- ‘Deadpool’: Over 60 Things to Know About the R-Rated Superhero Movie
- ‘Deadpool’ Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick on Script Changes, Fincher’s Involvement, and More
- See Ryan Reynolds Go Under the Knife in New Deadpool Images