“Deadpool 2” somehow achieves the seemingly impossible, making even more outrageous, zanier and cruder jokes than its already shocking original.
As the Merc with the Mouth, Ryan Reynolds has rightfully been lauded for his comedic skills and charm that made the foul-mouthed antihero a massive (and massively surprising) box office smash for 20th Century Fox. And while the actor “definitely had a direction” for the sequel, according to director David Leitch, bringing it to the screen was a team effort.
Leitch, who replaced Tim Miller on the sequel out May 18, reveals that Reynolds collaborated with him and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to form a creative foursome that helped push “Deadpool 2” to new heights. As “the general” of the group, Leitch handled the day-to-day logistics because of his “background in taking a movie from A to B and in physical production.” But when it came to making a scene better, “it was really the best idea wins.”
“There weren’t any egos between us, which is hard in this situation. But everyone just wanted what was best for the movie,” he says. “We all had to just look each in the eye and do a gut check. The expectations for ‘Deadpool 2’ are huge, and we had to rely on each other and not turn this into a battle of creative [minds] and just support each other and get the best movie.”
Rob Delaney, who plays the well-meaning X-Force recruit Peter, also waxed lyrical about Reynolds’ work and dedication to “Deadpool” over the last decade. “Obviously, all credit goes to Ryan Reynolds, because he had the foresight 10 years ago to be like, ‘You know what? Maybe this Deadpool guy will make a good film.’ It is not a secret that he is behind the film’s success and excellence.
“When you see it happening on set, and you see the care that he puts into every aspect of it, he is just across everything. He is so prepared. All of the creative team are. They can deal with mistakes and let little happy accidents happen. I think Peter is an example of that.”
In the sequel, Deadpool really gets into the superhero game on a mission to save the tempestuous young mutant Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) from the time-traveling cybernetic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin).
Ahead of production, there were three key components of “Deadpool” that Leitch wanted to expand upon. “You have the irreverent comedy that is undeniable. A real emotional beating heart to the film, that is unexpected in a comic book movie. And then you have some bad-ass action,” he says. “I wanted to try and build on all of that and stay true to the original, but then give it my own imprint as a director.
“We found a great emotional in, and we had a great actor in Julian Dennison, who just wears his heart on his sleeve. He is such an empathetic actor. It was so great to get him onboard, and he is the heart and soul of the film.”
Leitch also reveled in the marketing opportunities for "Deadpool 2" because of what they could do with the character. “It is hard to separate Deadpool the character from ‘Deadpool’ the franchise and brand. You actually have moments where you can reach beyond the screen and tickle the audience before the movie starts.”
The team, including Reynolds, got to collaborate on the marketing campaign, which featured everything from Deadpool leaning back in a chair under a rain of bullets “Flashdance”-style to a music video with Celine Dion. “[That] was an idea that stemmed from the movie,” he says. “It is really fun with this universe that it expands beyond the film itself.”